Do you have a licence to let? Your questions answered

With more and more councils looking at licensing schemes, whether you need a licence is a big question for many landlords. During the 'Do you have a licence to let?' webinar,'s Adam Male, and the NLA's Gavin Dick addressed this tricky issue... Listen back here:

Gavin and his colleagues from the NLA Advice Line have answered the questions raised during the webinar:

Q. When will the change in stories likely come into effect for HMO licencing?

A. We are waiting for government, we expect April next year.


Q. If it does come in how strictly do think they will apply the 6.52 square metre minimum room size rule? - I have several rooms 1cm or 2cm too small.

A. The property will have to conform to the law – failure to do so could result in your prosecution by the local authority.


Q. Do you have to have a license if you part own a property which is let?

A. No, but you cannot have the management responsibility of the property i.e. you have passed full authority including repairs to the licensee. If you still exert management then you need a licence.


Q. Is it likely that serviced accommodation i.e. short lets will be included in an area where geographical selective licensing is introduced?

A. Depends on what you mean by short lets, if you rent out the property and the local authority has not exempted you then yes you do


Q. Do freeholders of a block converted into self-contained flats need a licence?

A. Yes, if you are renting them out.


Q. If selective licencing is perceived to be ineffective, is it likely that it will be abandoned / not renewed after the 5-year period?

A. Depends on the local authority – some have some have not


Q. Is the fee due PER property or one per landlord no matter how many properties?

A. Per property


Q. If I decide to surrender my HMO licence, in order to sell the property, how easy is this?

A. You can withdraw from a scheme, but if you went back you would need to reapply.


Q. Can you advise - What are the best reasons for landlord to use to reject council consultations for selective licensing?

A The NLA response is on our web site


Q. Does property licensing apply to letting out your property through the council, or just for private rented property?

A. Just the private rented sector, there is a list of statutory exemptions on every licensing scheme


Q. I have a planning permission for 7-bed HMO. It already had a licence for 5-bed HMO and now applied for the additional two rooms to be added to make it a 7-bed licensed HMO following planning permission as 7-bed HMO. But, the licencing dept. have refused to add two rooms and saying that there is not sufficient light as two rooms are in the basement. Can they refuse to licence although a planning permission has already been granted?

A. This is a challenge in most local authorities in that the planning department and the licensing department are separate and has different interpretations – in short, yes, they can.


Q. Do I need an HMO licence in Wealden DC area? If I restrict the number of people in a two storey rural property to four people do I still need to register for a licence?

A. The definition of an hmo is it’s rented to 5 or more people who form more than 1 household it’s at least 3 stories high and tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities. If it does not meet these criteria you do not need a licence, if you let out the property and it does meet the criteria you will be prosecuted. The new rules come in next year.


Q. In which circumstance can the council can refuse a licence?

A. There are many reasons - if you fail a fit and proper person check, if the house is deemed not fit for human habitation etc. The council that sets the licence will set the criteria which you have to meet.


Q. Can a HMO be sold?

A. Yes


Q. HMO includes minimum room sizes. Rooms that have and are being happily lived in. Rooms that will be illegal to let in future. Has any study been done to see how many will have to be left permanently in future and how that will help those who choose to live there rather than pay more or live further out?

A. I don’t believe a study has been undertaken.


Q. I have a house which I rent out to a family, does that need a licence?

A. Depends on where the property is.


Q. Do Fire safety checks run separately to the licensing?

A. Yes.


Q. I am an NLA member - would the advice line be of use?

A. Yes!


Q. What constitutes a relation?

A. The standard dictionary definition – married, brother or sister, parent


Q. Are additional licencing fees tax deductible?

A. Yes

If you have any further questions about licensing and how you can ensure that you are meeting all of the important legislation, the NLA Advice Line is free for all members. For membership contact the NLA at 020 7840 8900.

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