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Do Landlords need to follow the Law on Licencing?

Yes, absolutely, landlords need to follow all the regulations that the law demands. When taking out insurance they confirm that they are complying with UK laws and are responsible if not. Landlords, therefore, have to make sure that they follow all current and up to date laws.

Do landlords have to comply with the new HMO requirements from the 1st of October 2018?

I have specifically asked some Insurance Companies what happens in the event that a client does not have the correct licencing. They confirmed that they would take this into account if a claim was made and it could lead to a claim rejection. It is therefore critical that landlords have a licence for their property. It is not just the licence that is important but also to comply with all special conditions. Generally, most licences have a long list of items that need to be complete to be compliant. It is most important that all the special conditions are adhered to and signed off by the Council. If the correct license is not in place in the event of a claim there is a high likelihood of claim rejection.

Are all the Councils the same?

No, not all Councils are the same. There is general HMO licencing for the whole of the Country but there is also selective licencing. This is with respect to individual councils as they have their own way to deal with HMO numbers and standards. It may be that they have added additional requirements for landlords in certain properties. Landlords have to meet all the criteria applicable to them.

Do landlords need to send a copy of the licence to their Insurance Company

No, it is not required when taking out the insurance. There is a statement of fact as part of any policy and policyholders confirm this is correct when taking out the insurance. It is absolutely critical under the new Commercial Act that this is completely truthful and correct. When making a claim against the insurance there will be a requirement to supply a copy of the licence to ensure that it is fully complied with.

Do landlords need to check if they need a licence?

Yes, it is very important to be fully aware of what legal requirements as a landlord to adhere to. They can find these by speaking to their local authority. It is important to comply with all requirements of the local authority and the Government.


When becoming a landlord it is essential to understand the requirements of maintaining a property fit to live in. If landlords are unsure of how to be compliant we would suggest that they employ a professional that can do this on their behalf. It will be critical with any insurance claim that is made that the law has been completely complied with.

New Rules for Houses in Multiple Occupation

The Government have a new set of rules for landlords with respect to houses of multiple occupation. These have been in place as of the 1st of October 2018. The new rules work alongside further legislation from the last five years. Put in place by the Government. The letting Industry has had to deal with two lots of legislation every year for the last five years.

Does this affect you?

If your property has five or more occupants from two or more separate households then yes, depending on the following. If the property is either a converted building with living accommodation or self-contained flat this will affect you.  If you have a purpose built flat you are lucky because it doesn’t apply.
This then takes over from previous legislation. It also takes away the three storey rule which no longer applies. If you have a property you will now need to apply for a mandatory HMO licence from the 1st of October. Not only are there heavy fines for anyone renting these premises out without a licence. It is also more than likely that any local authority will refuse in future to give you a licence to rent it out.

However, there are more new rules!

The minimum bedroom space will be 6.51 sq metres for a single bedroom. For rooms occupied by two adults the size required is at least 10.22 sq metres. Rooms housing children 10 or below need to be at least 4.64 sq metres.

What else do Landlords have to do?

Well, the list isn’t endless. It does depend on your local authority. There are items such as having adequate bins for the property.

Minimum Electrical Requirements.

Our advice would be to talk to the local authority to find out the requirements. Most authorities have also included their own selective licencing. This means that they can pick areas where they enforce certain properties to have certain minimum requirements. Then, of course, there is the dreaded fee! Is this just another stealth tax? Fees can range dramatically from £400.00 upwards.
Landlords of existing properties will be given up to 18 months to make the required changes when reapplying for a licence. Check with your local authority before doing so.
When will the Government stop introducing more and more legislation on landlords? Are these good provisions for tenants? Are they out there to reduce overcrowding? Will, it put landlords off in the future letting out properties to multiple tenants?
For landlords, it is important to ensure that your property has a licence. In the event that it doesn’t and there was an incident you may not be able to claim. Our advice is to speak to your local authority and find out what’s required.
Mark Harrington
Managing Director

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