Who needs a licence and how to apply
Who needs a licence
You must have a licence to rent out some properties as HMOs.
Currently you must have a licence if your HMO property in the King's Lynn and West Norfolk area is:
- rented to five people or more who form more than one household
- at least three storeys high; and
- the occupants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities
The Government has decided to extend the scope of mandatory HMO licensing to bring smaller HMOs within the mandatory scheme.
From 1 October 2018, you’ll require a licence if your HMO meets the criteria below:
- it has five or more occupants who make up two or more households
- occupants share basic amenities such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities (this removes the previous storey element)
Purpose-built flats may also require a licence if:
- there are up to two flats in the block, and
- one or both are occupied matching the criteria above
There is no grace period for the new mandatory licensing requirements. We must receive your valid application before 1 October 2018. Failure to apply for licences by this date is a criminal offence.
New licensing conditions
The Government has also introduced further mandatory HMO licence conditions. They come into force on 1 October 2018, as follows:
- your licence must specify which rooms may be used as bedrooms and the number of people who may occupy these
- rooms with a usable floor area* of less than 6.51m² can’t be used as bedrooms for those over 10 years of age
- bedrooms occupied by two people must have a usable floor area* of more than 10.22m²
- any room with a useable floor area* of less than 4.64m² can’t be used as a bedroom
*you must disregard any area where the ceiling height is less than 1.5m when calculating the useable floor area.
There are also new conditions relating to the provision of suitable facilities for refuse and storage (you can view these, and all conditions, in our HMO licence conditions document).
The fees for licensing have also increased for the first time since 2006. The fees from 1 April 2018 are:
- new licence - £685 (up to ten rooms, plus £39.37 for every additional habitable room)
- renewal licence - £596 (up to ten rooms, plus £39.37 for every additional habitable room)
You generally don’t need a licence if the HMO is owned or managed by:
- a housing association
- a council
- a health authority
- the police
- the fire service
If you're not sure whether you need a licence, please contact us. Our contact details are at the bottom of the page.
Apply for a licence
To apply for a licence, please download the application form, complete and return it to us.
You'll need a separate licence for every HMO you rent out. The licence is normally valid for a maximum of five years.
You can't let the property until you're in receipt of an HMO licence.
To apply for an HMO licence you'll need to:
- be over 18
- be a 'fit and proper person' (no criminal record or breach of landlord laws/code of practice)*
*Please note; a fit and proper person test must be completed by anyone involved in the management of the property. If you’re the main applicant, we’ll ask you the relevant questions during your HMO application form. For any other applicants, please complete our fit and proper person form.
And you'll need to provide:
- a scaled floor plan of each storey of the property showing the location and size of each room
- a site plan showing the boundaries of the property and the points of entrance and exit
- a credit or debit card for the fee (£685 for a new application, £596 for a renewal)
- proof of address for the licence (for example, a driving licence or recent utility bill)
- the current Gas Safety Record (if there is gas at the property)
- the current Electrical Installation Condition Report
Please note; if you provide all mandatory documentation so we're able to process your application without delay, we'll refund £50 of the application fee you paid
What happens next?
Once we’ve received your application, we’ll:
- check the form and documentation are complete, and that you’ve paid the fee (we’ll contact you if there’s something missing)
- arrange and carry out an inspection of the premises
- examine your application to decide if you’re a ‘fit and proper person’
- write to you with a list of works we require you to carry out (if appropriate)
- determine if the premises can be licensed and for how many people. We’ll then send a licence proposal to you, giving you 14 days to comment on the proposal
- consider any representations that you make, and revise any licence conditions as appropriate
- produce the licence, including a certificate and conditions to be displayed at the premises, and a copy for the applicant and manager’s record (if applicable)
We could decide to refuse your application for an HMO licence, if the:
- application or proposed licence holder does not provide any additional documentation that has been requested
- proposed licence holder is not deemed a ‘fit and proper person’
- property is not suitable or amenities are inadequate
If we decide to refuse the licence, we'll tell you the reasons for this within 28 days. If you don’t agree with our decision, you may appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal.
If a licence is refused, we may apply for an interim management order that will allow us to take over the management of the property.
Please note; tacit consent does not apply to HMO licence applications. It's in the public interest that we, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, must process the application completely before it can be granted.
Renting out this type of HMO without a licence is a criminal offence. We'll consider taking action using our powers available. You could face:
- prosecution which carries an unlimited fine
- a civil penalty fine of up to £30,000
- a management order, where we take over the management of the HMO
- rent repayment orders, where you'll have to pay back up to 12 months of the rent you collected
For more information about the HMO reform, please download the GOV.UK website licensing reform document.
For general information about being a landlord, including repairs and maintenance responsibilities, please visit our information for landlords page.