Operating houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) without a licence

There are several offences in relation to the licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). These carry fines on conviction, and include:

  • operating an HMO without a licence
  • breaching licensing conditions

Alternatively for relevant offences, the council may issue a civil penalty notice. This carries a maximum fine of £30,000.

Where an offence has been committed, an application may be made for a rent repayment order to the First-Tier Property Tribunal. If granted, the person receiving rent must repay the amount received during the time in which the HMO has been operating without a licence. This is up to a maximum of 12 months.

The council may make this application where rent was paid through housing benefit. It is also possible for tenants to apply for a rent repayment order to recover rent paid over the same period of time.