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If you rent your house out to three or more people, you may require a licence from your local council

It is now a legal requirement in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire that if you rent your home to three or more people who are not part of the same family unit, you must by law obtain a “HMO” licence. This is because it will be regarded as a House of Multiple Occupation (“HMO”).

The penalty for failing to have a licence or failing to comply with the terms of your licence could include a fine of up £20,000.

A council in London recently fined a rogue landlord £11,000 for failing to obtain a HMO licence. The landlord had failed to obtain a licence and there was then a fire at the property.

The aim of the legislation is for councils to use the money generated by the licence fee of £500 to  pay for the cost of inspecting HMOs to ensure better living standards for tenants. The problem we foresee is that the licence fee will increase the costs for good landlords who are already complying with the law and providing good standards of accommodation. These increased costs will ultimately be passed on to tenants. It may also result in less rooms being available to let as landlords stop to rent to this category of tenant.  Less availability may push up the cost of renting a room.  It may be that bad landlords who are not complying with the law and who are currently failing to obtain a licence will continue to remain unrecognised as council only investigate HMOs which come to their attention.

If you would like to clarfity if your home in a HMO and require legal advice in connection with this, contact Emma Watson on 01234 322703 or you could email her on


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The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.