Frequently asked questions

Which HMOs would be covered by additional licensing?

The Additional Licensing proposal is to licence all 3 and 4 bed HMOs which are currently exempt from mandatory licencing. The consultation also seeks views on the licensing of HMOs in purpose-built student accommodation, which could result in such flats with 3 or more occupiers being brought into licensing for the first time.

Why are the Council considering additional licensing?

The Council are considering Additional Licensing as it would ensure that all HMO must meet the same management and property standards, which provides better welfare and safety for occupiers.

Bringing 3 and 4 bed properties in line with properties of 5 beds or more would allow for regular inspections and a consistent enforcement approach.

It strengthens the Council's strategic objective of tackling poor conditions in private rented property and links with planning compliance.

What is the feasibility study?

The study gives the rationale for proposing an Additional Licensing Scheme in the district. It provides information on the legal tests we must meet to justify a scheme and the background on HMO regulation in the district.

How can I have my say about the proposed licensing scheme?

We suggest that respondents read the consultation documents on our website and then complete the online questionnaire. Paper copies of the questionnaire will be available for collection from Riverside House.

There will be opportunities for interested parties to attend drop in sessions, meetings will take place with residents and landlords groups

Would additional licensing apply to resident landlords?

Resident landlords who live with up to two lodgers are legally exempt from the HMO definition. If resident landlords have 3 or more lodgers, they will require a licence under the Additional Licensing proposals.

Would additional licensing apply across the whole district?

The proposal is for a scheme that applies to the whole district, but this is something we are keen to hear your views on.

Would additional licensing apply to purpose-built flats?

The public consultation asks respondents to give their view on licensing of HMO in purpose-built flats, which are currently exempt from licensing.

The questionnaire also asks whether purpose-built student accommodation should be specifically excluded in the licensing scheme as they are of modern construction and safety standards.

How much will a licence fee be?

The licence fee for a 3 or 4 bed HMO will be the same as the licence fee for a 5 bed HMO. A five-year licence would cost £964.00. It is not anticipated that processing the licence of a 3-4 bed property would cost the Council any less than processing a licence for 5 beds.

Can I suggest alterations to the licence conditions?

No, licence conditions were updated in 2022 and do not form part of this consultation. Officers are confident that the licence conditions we have are legally enforceable. We are currently operating with three sets of licence conditions; it is not practical to change them at this time.

Would there be any discounts?

The consultation asks your views on a discount for landlords who make early applications. Early submission of applications and fee payments would help us to better resource the scheme.

What happens to all of the submitted questionnaires?

Questionnaires completed online will be held securely on the Warwick District Council servers and in the smart Survey program. Paper copies of the questionnaire will be scanned and the originals securely disposed of and transferred into the online survey program on your behalf. The views gathered will be used to produce a report on the proposed scheme for the Council.

Can I complete a paper copy of the questionnaire?

Yes, paper copies of the questionnaire are available for collection from the reception desk at Riverside House.

What dates would licences run from/to?

If the council decide to pursue an additional licensing scheme, 3 months notice of any start date would be given and the scheme would run for five years.

What standards/conditions would be applied?

You can find a copy of the licence conditions and guidance on our website.

Would I need planning permission before I apply for a licence?

Regarding 3 and 4 bed HMO, it depends on the location. If your HMO is in Leamington Spa, you should already have obtained planning permission to operate legally. If you have not already done so, you will probably need to submit a planning application and should contact the Planning Department for advice. This is because an Article 4 direction exists to remove permitted development rights in all wards of Leamington spa. Please see our website for information regarding Article 4 and properties established prior to 2012.

If your HMO is outside of Leamington Spa, you do not need planning permission for 3 to 6 occupants.

How long will my licence last for?

A licence would be granted for 5 years.

Would I receive an inspection before my licence application is processed?

Yes, we have to be satisfied that the property to be licensed meets the standards for a HMO. If works are identified, the officer will work with the landlord to bring the property to standard.

What documents would I need to submit with my application?

  • Licence application forms
  • Gas safety certificate
  • Electrical Installation Condition Report
  • PAT certificate
  • Servicing certificates for Fire detection system
  • Servicing certificates for Firefighting equipment
  • Servicing certificate for Emergency Lighting if applicable
  • Property floor plans

Would I need to tell my mortgage company if I need to apply for a licence?

We recommend you do, as part of the licensing process any parties with a legal interest in the property will be notified that a licence application has been made.

How long would the Council allow me to bring my HMO up to standard?

Timelines quoted on schedules of work depend on the nature of the work to be completed, and the hazard presented to the occupier.

How long would I have to submit my licence application?

If the decision is taken to adopt an Additional licensing scheme, landlords will be given 3 months’ notice of the start date. Duly made applications should be submitted prior to the start date of the scheme, although we accept that some landlords will not submit their application quickly, there will be a point at which we look at enforcement action for those failing to apply.

What are the consequences if I don’t apply for a licence?

Failure to Licence a HMO is a serious legal offence. You could be prosecuted or receive a Civil Penalty Fine of up to £30,000 for the offence of failing to licence your property. It could prevent you from managing HMOs in the future.

Could I evict my tenants to avoid the need for a licence?

You could, but this would have to be done using the correct legal process, which can take 6 months or more. The fee for a five-year licence is equivalent to rent on one room for two months. See below regarding loss of planning use class.

If I revert my HMO to a single household, can I go back to an HMO in the future?

If the property is within Leamington Spa and you revert to a single household let, you will lose the C4 (HMO) use class, and you will not be able to move back to a HMO without obtaining planning permission again.