Do I need an HMO licence for Oxfordshire property?
What is an HMO?
An HMO is a tenanted House in Multiple Occupation. This means that there are more than three occupants who make up two or more ‘households’.
A couple who are sharing with a friend constitute two ‘households’, while three non-related friends are considered to form three separate households. In both of these cases, if they were renting a house or flat, the landlord would need an HMO licence in Oxford city. A family of six people, however, form a single household because they are all related to each other.
Obtaining planning consent
If your tenants make up an HMO in Oxford city, then you need an HMO licence. But before you apply for one of those you need planning consent to let the property as an HMO.
Residential property is divided into different planning ‘use classes’. Family homes have a class usage known as C3: for an HMO this needs to be changed to C4. Oxford has severe restrictions on granting planning changes from C3 to C4, so do not make any assumptions. The process is, as with most planning applications: a fee, a form and a wait for the response.
Obtaining an HMO licence
Once you have the planning consent, you then need to obtain the HMO licence. This entails another form and another fee, and then an inspector will visit and tell you about any changes you need to make to fulfil the conditions of the licence. These are mainly related to the number of permitted occupants and fire safety. It is most important that everyone can get out of the building easily and safely in the event of a fire. So you will need fire doors on key rooms, a fire alarm system etc. We have plenty of experience of helping landlords meet these requirements and can guide you through the process.
This is one of the 50 most asked questions in our new book: Landlord Intelligence.