Tag Archives: HMO Regulations

Councils lose Court cases over HMO licence fees HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Three cases have recently been tested in the Courts whereby Councils have charged more for HMO licensing then was reasonable.

There are rules to prevent Councils using HMO licensing to raise funds for other activities.

Hemming v Westminster City Council: The case outlines the type of costs that councils can recover through locally set licence fees and the processes councils have in place to ensure fee setting is transparent and open to scrutiny. The key issue addressed was whether the fees set by Westminster City Council complied with the requirements of the European Services Directive 2009 and the interpretation of Article 13(2) of the Directive. The Services Directive also makes it clear that licence fees covered by the Directive can only be used to recover costs and should not be used to make a profit or deter service providers from entering a market. Councils lose Court cases over HMO licence fees

Crompton v Oxford City Council: The power to charge fees in respect of HMO licensing is found in s63 of the Housing Act 2004. Importantly, this power is granted in respect of licence applications only. Oxford City Council has sought to charge a fee for the variation of an HMO licence. The Residential Property Tribunal (RPT) ruled that the fee was unlawful and that it could not be charged.

Bristol City Council v Digs (Bristol) Ltd: The defendant was the private landlord of a maisonette in multiple occupation. The council brought a prosecution for failure to obtain an HMO licence and for breaches of the HMO regulations. A District Judge at Bristol Magistrates Court tried the preliminary issue of whether the maisonette was a licensable HMO. It extended over two storeys of a building with a further entrance corridor and hallway on a lower storey. The council included the lower storey in deciding that the HMO extended to three storeys. The Judge held that having regard to Article 3 of the HMO (Prescribed Description) (England) (Order) the maisonette was not an HMO. The council had been wrong to include the lower storey. In the light of that ruling, the council offered no evidence and the defendant was acquitted.

In the wake of these rulings the NLA is asking all local authorities in England to contact any affected landlords, informing them of their right to appropriate refunds and providing details of how they may make a claim.

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the National Landlords Association (NLA), said:

we have asked local authorities to come clean about the level of fees they have charged private-landlords, if they were entitled to make these charges, and when they will refund any money unjustly demanded.

Mr Lambert went on to add:

“In writing to all local authorities in England we’re acknowledging the good working partnership many private landlords have with town halls, but making clear they should not be absorbing the costs of overcharging to support other council functions”.


Has this Oxford tenant fallen foul of HMO legislation? HMO's & Student Lets, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Oxford HMO licensingI have just received an email from an Oxford based tenant who may have fallen foul of HMO regulations.

I’m not sure how to answer his questions so I have posted his email below. Just in case you don’t know, selective licencing in Oxford renders a property with three or more unrelated tenants liable for HMO licensing.  What is a tenant sublets though, who’s responsible then?

I would very much appreciate your feedback on this

Continue reading Has this Oxford tenant fallen foul of HMO legislation?


Tessa Shepperson’s New “Landlord Law Made Easy” Course Buy to Let News, Landlord Law, Latest Articles, Property Investment News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Don’t you get fed up sometimes by the amount of law we are expected to know?

  • We have to comply with complicated tenancy deposit regulations otherwise our tenants can sue us for a penalty payment and we won’t be able to serve a notice to evict them unless we pay their deposit back.

Continue reading Tessa Shepperson’s New “Landlord Law Made Easy” Course


Appeal Court Rejects HMO Legal Challenge HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles, Property Market News

Local councils have lost their fight in the courts to overturn the government’s house in multiple occupation planning laws.

After a bitter and long-running dispute, the Court of Appeal has rejected their challenge and ruled housing minister Grant Shapps made a considered and fair decision to reverse planning laws rushed in by the outgoing Labour Government in April 2010. Continue reading Appeal Court Rejects HMO Legal Challenge


The HMO Debate – an admission of defeat. Guest Columns, HMO's & Student Lets, Property Investment News

My last article on Property 118 brought forth a host of questions from landlords wondering whether their property was in or out of the HMO grip.

I got questions saying “Help! is my house an HMO?” and comments that they weren’t getting any sense or consistency out of their Environmental Health Officers. This seemed to beg an article clarifying things once and for all in a user’s guide format that would help real people in real situations.

As well as being a working Tenancy Relations Officer I have been, since 1998, a freelance trainer of housing law for the Chartered Institute of Housing, Sitra, Shelter etc and I long ago learnt that my  job in many ways was really more of a translator than an educator. Continue reading The HMO Debate – an admission of defeat.


Shared house was firebomb waiting to explode Cautionary Tales, HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles

A cluster of differently covered wiresElectrical wiring in a shared house was so dangerous the property was a firebomb waiting to go off, a court heard.

Faulty wiring was overheating and could have ignited at any time – but the house in multiple occupation (HMO) had fire safety precautions in place. Continue reading Shared house was firebomb waiting to explode


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