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Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO's)

HMO Enforcement

When we receive reports of unlicensed HMOs and breaches of housing legislation, including landlord and tenant law, we will investigate to establish the facts and gather evidence of offences that have been committed.

These offences generally fall into three categories...

  1. Section 72 Offence, failure to licence a HMO, that is required to be licensed
  2. Failure to comply with the HMO management regulations
  3. Poor property condition and disrepair . Housing Act 2004

In most cases we will give 24 hours' prior notice of inspections. However, if we suspect an offence is being committed relating to HMO legislation we can inspect without giving any prior notice. In either case, if we are refused access we can apply to the Magistrates' Court to obtain a warrant. This allows us to enter by force if necessary.

Once we have inspected, we may serve legal notices requiring work to be completed, or information to establish exactly how the property is being occupied and managed. Failing to comply with these notices is an offence.

The investigation process may also include formal interviews under caution, gathering witness statements, and information sharing with other enforcement agencies.

Each case is judged on its own merits and in accordance with our HMO Enforcement Policy and PSH Enforcement Policy and our Civil Penalties Protocol.

The local authority has the option to offer a simple caution, prosecution via the courts or the serving of a fixed penalty notice

Landlords cannot regain possession of their property using Section 21 Notices whilst an HMO remains unlicensed.