In Carmarthenshire all Houses in Multiple Occupation require a Licence following the introddution of an additional licensing scheme in October 2007.
The following types of property will require a licence:
• Bedsit Accomodation
• Shared Accomodation
• Student Accommodation
• Certain Types of Converted Buildings to Flats (Buildings converted in accordance with building regulations or before 1992 (s.257 HA2004))
The Housing Act 2004 brings in a new definition. A building (or part of a building) will be a HMO if:
• A HMO is a building occupied by 3 or more people who form 2 or more households.
• It is occupied by those persons as their only or main residence.
• There is a sharing of basic amenities e.g. kitchen, bathroom
• HMO’s include houses containing bedsits, hostels and shared houses, including student houses.
Persons will not be regarded as living as a single household unless they are members of the same family, or living together as a couple.
Houses occupied by students will now be classed as HMOs.
How do I get a license for my property?
There is an application form that must be completed to gain a license. The application form does ask for a lot of information regarding ownership and management of the property. The council is obliged by law to collect this information.
The council must ensure that there are adequate management arrangements at the property, standards are high, and the license holder is to be a ‘fit and proper’ person.
What standards must be achieved to gain a license?
The Council has to be satisfied that the HMO is reasonably suitable for occupation, and will look in particular at kitchen and bathroom facilities and fire precautions. If the HMO does not meet the standards, the Council may award a license with a condition requiring provision of additional facilities.
The Council must also be satisfied that the proposed license holder is a ‘fit and proper’ person. The proposed manager (if there is one) must also be ‘fit and proper’ and have a sufficient level of competence. Management structures and funding arrangements must be suitable. If the Council is not satisfied on these matters a license will not be awarded.
The application form states the matters that the Council must take into consideration when deciding if the proposed license holder and manager are fit and proper persons.
Who should hold the license?
Does my managing agent have to be a ‘fit’ and proper person?
If you employ an agent on a ‘let only’ or ‘tenant only’ arrangement then we will not usually require details about whether they are fit and proper. Part 2 of the application (‘Managers Details’) need not be completed.
However, where you are giving permission to an agent or another person to manage the property for you on a day-to-day basis we need to be satisfied that they are ‘fit and proper’. Where this is the case Part 2 of the application must be completed.
If your agent or manager does any of the following they must complete Part 2 of the application:
• Collects rent
• Is the main contact for repairs
• Arranges payment of bills
• Terminates and renews tenancies
Where day to day responsibility for managing the property has been handed over to another person then the Council must be satisfied they are ‘fit and proper’ and competent. Part 2 of the application must be completed.
What is the fee?
The license fee is £450 and must be paid in full with the application. There is a lower fee of £400 for properties that have been accredited via the Carmarthenshire Accommodation Accreditation Scheme.
If the license is refused the Council will explain its decision and the applicant will be able to make representations. Again there is a right of appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal.
If you live in a property which you think should be licensed you can report it to us anonymously by using the document on the right "Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation Online Form".
Penalties for operating a HMO without a Licence
A landlord or agent that operates a HMO without a licence in Carmarthenshire will be prosecuted and if found guilty could result in a fine of £20000 and would deem them not a fit and proper person to operate that property or others that they rent.
The tenants may also make an application to the court for a rent repayment order. The landlord or agent will be made to pay all the rent back for as long as that property was rented as a HMO.
The consequenses not applying for a licence is very serious.
Accessing the Public Register
The Council must by law keep a register of all licensed HMOs, all Temporary Exemption Notices and all Management Orders.