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What happens if an HMO is not licensed or if licence conditions are breached?

>> If an HMO is not licensed

Controlling or managing an HMO which ought to be licensed, but is not licensed, without a reasonable excuse for doing so, will be a criminal offence, subject to a maximum fine of 20,000. A person will not be guilty of such an offence if there is an effective application outstanding with the LHA for the grant of a licence or a temporary exemption notice.

During any period in which an offence of controlling or managing an HMO which ought to be licensed, but is not licensed, is committed no rent is payable for occupation of the property.

In such cases the occupiers or the LHA (where Housing Benefit has been paid) can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal for a rent repayment order. This order would require the landlord to pay back rent collected over the period the offence was committed.

When the HMO licensing Legislation (Housing Act 2004 Part 4) becomes effective after 6th April 2006, there will be a period of three months in which landlords have the opportunity to submit an application. During this time no offence will have been committed if there is no licence or no application for a licence.

>> Breach of licensing conditions

(Please see "what happens if I don't comply with the licence conditions?" for the WoE agreement)

The licence holder or manager of an HMO who allows it to be occupied by more persons than are permitted under the licence commits an offence and can be fined up to 20,000.

If the licence holder or manager breaches or fails to comply with a condition of the licence she/he will also commit an offence and may be fined up to a maximum of 5,000.

Prosecution of the offences is without prejudice to the LHAs power to revoke the licence.

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