Fringe Box



GBC Tighten Up Multiple Occupation Housing Licensing

Published on: 21 Aug, 2018
Updated on: 21 Aug, 2018

The changes will apply to the HMOs in Guildford Borough

By Laura Neuhaus

All houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), occupied by five or more people with shared facilities, will require a licence from October, Guildford Borough Council (GBC) has announced.

The change, which will apply to all properties regardless of size, extends the government’s general requirements which are only mandatory for properties with three or more floors.

HMOs are houses with five or more occupants

GBC’s decision to remove the size requirement will increase the number of landlords who will require a licence. Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) properties include any houses occupied by unrelated individuals or couples and include student or shared houses.

In a press release, lead councillor for housing and development management, Philip Brooker anticipates, “…several hundreds of properties throughout Guildford will need to be licensed.”

The lead councillor explained: “…the change has been introduced to extend the scope of licensing to provide safer housing standards for private tenants whilst targeting rogue landlords. Also, for the first time minimum room sizes have been introduced to ban the use of small rooms as sleeping accommodation.”

Tighter controls have been deemed necessary, especially for student accommodation. The University of Surrey Students’ Union has responded to the council’s changes in a statement: “Many university students rely on HMOs as affordable accommodation while studying at university. Sadly, this is the area that attracts the most rogue landlords who wish to maximise their income.

An application form for a HMO licence available online

“A badly converted three-bedroom house into a five-bedroom HMO is bad for the renters, and bad for the community, as houses which are simply not designed to hold five separate renters are packed full with bedrooms in converted garages, conservatories and basements.

“With hundreds of purpose built student bedrooms in the pipeline, from both the university and private providers, we very much hope that the increased availability of good quality student housing as well as tougher regulation from the council will put these unethical landlords out of business.”

The council will charge for the licences. The licences, which will require regular renewal and last for a maximum of five years, will cost £608 with a £113 late-charge.

Landlords applying for a licence will need to present a floor plan, gas safety certificate, an electrical inspection certificate, a fire alarm maintenance record and should expect to have their property inspected.

Cllr Brooker advises: “Apply now, as landlords who fail to do so will face civil penalties of up to £30,000, a late payment fee and may be required to repay tenants their rent.”

For further information and an online application form visit:

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