Our HMO licences​ protect more residents

Residents of the more than 640 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in the borough are now safer and living in better managed properties thanks to the extension of licensing requirements. 

HMOs provide a valuable source of accommodation to meet the needs of many local residents. They can offer a more affordable and flexible way to live for many different people, such as students, people on lower incomes and key workers.

Licences issued by the Council ensure high standards of safety and management of HMOs, covering fire safety, amenity and space standards, occupancy numbers, waste provisions, anti-social behaviour and other environmental health matters.

Cllr Caroline Reeves, Lead Councillor for Housing and Development Control says:

"The excellent work of our Regulatory Services team has allowed us to make great progress in protecting tenants and improving the quality of privately-rented homes. Where we find serious breaches of the law, it is essential that we take action to protect the health and wellbeing of tenants.

"Whilst we are working to increase the number of new affordable homes in the borough, providing well-managed HMOs is vital to many of our residents. Our licences and landlord accreditation scheme reward responsible landlords and highlight to tenants the standards which should be met by every property. They send a clear message that resident safety is our priority and I would encourage both landlords and tenants to contact us if they have any concerns about their own or a neighbouring house."

The definition of a HMO changed in October 2018 to include properties occupied by 5 or more people from two or more households who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom. The number of HMOs in the borough has risen from just over 100 at the time of this change to 641, and all of these properties are currently fully licensed. You can check if your property has a HMO licence and download the HMO Public Register on our website. 

Identifying unlicensed HMO is also an important element of the team's work. To date, 30 properties have been discovered and are now licensed ensuring these residents are living in appropriate standards of accommodation.

Regulatory Services also ensure safe accommodation is provided in the rest of the privately rented sector. Our landlord accreditation scheme, part of the UK Landlord Accreditation Partnership (UKLAP) and the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme (LLAS), was set up in partnership with the University of Surrey, Surrey Students Union and other organisations to recognise high standards of accommodation and management. Over 350 landlords have been accredited by our landlord accreditation schemes.

If you have any concerns over a rented property which may be being used an unlicensed HMO, or one that poses a risk to residents' health, please contact Regulatory Services on 01483 505050 or contact us online.

Published 10 March 2021