London Borough of Hounslow
If you need help understanding the property licensing rules in Hounslow you have come to the right place! We are experts in housing regulation and have produced this free guide to help you understand the council’s property licensing schemes.
If you find that you need a licence for your rented property our support doesn’t end there. Our Landlord Suppliers Directory (view here) lists companies that offer a licence application handling service. You can also find companies offering a wide range of other goods and services to help you manage your property portfolio and achieve compliance.
There are currently two property licensing schemes operating in Hounslow. We will help you choose the right licence for your property:
1. Mandatory HMO licence
You will need a mandatory HMO licence if your property meets the standard test, self-contained flat test or converted building test HMO definition in section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 and is occupied by five or more people.
But what are these tests and what does this mean in practice? It means you need a licence for any house or flat that is occupied by five or more people who are not all related and live in the property as their main home. For example, it includes:
- Shared houses and flats occupied by students and young professionals;
- Properties converted into bedsits with some shared facilities; and
- Properties converted into a mixture of self-contained and non self-contained accommodation.
Prior to 1 October 2018, the mandatory HMO licensing scheme only applied to properties that were three or more storeys in height, but that restriction has now been lifted.
The government have decided to exclude purpose built self-contained flats within a block comprising three or more self-contained flats from the mandatory HMO licensing scheme. While this will be good news for some landlords, it does make the licensing scheme far more complicated.
To find out more, you can read our free guide to mandatory HMO licensing (here).
2. Additional licence
A replacement additional licensing scheme started on 1 August 2020 and continues for five years until 31 July 2025. You can view the public notice in the ‘At a Glance’ box on the top right of this webpage.
The scheme applies borough wide to most HMOs shared by three or more people who are not all related. However, it is worth noting the council have excluded multi-occupied purpose-built flats situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats.
The council have included ‘section 257 HMOs: certain converted blocks of flats’ in the scheme. These are properties that:
- have been converted into self-contained flats; and
- less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied; and
- the conversion did not comply with the relevant Building Regulations in force at that time and still does not comply.
The council have simplified things slightly by restricting the licensing of section 257 HMOs to situations where all the units are privately rented and the building and all the flats within it are either in the same ownership or considered to be effectively in the same control. This is a complex area of law and you may need further advice.
To find out more, you can read our free guide to additional licensing (here).
Hounslow Council charge a standard HMO licensing fee of £1,380 regardless of the size of the property.
There is a £90 discount if if you are a member of the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme, a recognised landlord association or a relevant professional body. It is good to see accredited landlords being charged a lower licence fee.
The fees are correct as of January 2024 but could be subject to change in the future. You can view the latest fees on the council’s website.
Hounslow Council have an online application system which can be accessed via the council’s website.
If you need assistance with your licence application, you can find companies offering a licence application handling service in our Landlord Suppliers Directory (here). Whilst we do handle some applications, we have limited capacity and specialise in more complex cases where we provide our clients with expert advice and assistance.
It is important to remember that submitting a licence application is only the start of the licence approval process. To help landlords understand what happens next, we have published a free guide here.
Yes, Hounslow Council have published HMO standards that can be downloaded from the council’s website.
The standards cover a range of issues such as kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities, fire precautions, heating, lighting and ventilation.
It is important to note that new absolute minimum bedroom sizes for licensed HMOs have been introduced for HMO licence applications approved on or after 1 October 2018:
- 4.64m2 for a child under 10 years old
- 6.51m2 for one person over 10 years old
- 10.22m2 for two people over 10 years old
The council can still ask for larger minimum sizes. These new minimum sizes apply throughout England to HMOs licensed under a mandatory HMO or additional licensing scheme.
In April 2022, there were 1,120 properties listed on Hounslow Council’s public register of licensed HMOs.
Hounslow Council keeps a public register of all licensed properties that is regularly updated and can be viewed on the council’s website.
Well, it seems like there may be quite a few. In February 2015, Hounslow Council told us that they think 500 to 700 properties need licensing under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme with another 2,000 properties covered by their additional licensing scheme. That suggests there could be many unlicensed properties still out there.
If you are the landlord of a licensable but unlicensed property in Hounslow, you need to act now to reduce to compliance risk.
Ignore the law and you could pay a heavy price. You risk being prosecuted by the Council and if found guilty you could get a criminal record, be fined an unlimited amount and ordered to pay court costs and a victim surcharge.
Alternatively, the council can issue you with a civil penalty notice of up to £30,000 for not having the correct licence without any warning being given, so this is really serious stuff.
You could also be subject to a Rent Repayment Order and may have to repay up to 12 months rental income.
Whilst the property is unlicensed, you can’t use a Notice of Seeking Possession under Section 21 Housing Act 1988 to evict your tenants.
And following a successful prosecution, you would probably fail a fit and proper person assessment, making it very difficult for you to obtain a property licence in the future.
Don’t put your livelihood and reputation at risk. Make sure you comply with the law.
In London, most boroughs publish information about housing prosecutions and civil financial penalties on the Mayor of London’s ‘Rogue landlord and agent checker’. You can search the database by entering a property address, landlord / agent name or by selecting the relevant borough, available here.
There are landlord accreditation schemes operated by the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) and other organisations.
Whilst we don’t have any figures for the NRLA scheme, we have got information about the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme that is supported by all the London Boroughs. In January 2016, they told us there were 398 accredited landlords in Hounslow, which was below average when compared with all London boroughs.
January 2018: 518 accredited landlords
January 2019: 533 accredited landlords
January 2020: 593 accredited landlords
January 2021: 652 accredited landlords
January 2022: 1,190 accredited landlords
By January 2023 there were 1,230 accredited landlords, which is slightly below average when compared to all the London boroughs. To find out more about becoming accredited, you can visit the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme website here.
In addition to training and development, accredited landlords are entitled to various benefits, including discounted licensing fees in some boroughs. If you are not already a member, we would encourage you to think about joining!
Hounslow Council consulted on plans for a replacement additional licensing scheme from 23 January to 3 April 2019. The scheme was approved at the Cabinet meeting on 9 July 2019, a scheme designation was made on the 1 August 2019 and the scheme was due to come into force on the 1 November 2019.
The Residential Landlords Association and safeagent raised concerns about deficiencies in the consultation process and considered lodging a Judicial Review. As a result, on 6 September 2019 the council decided to withdraw the scheme designation.
A further licensing consultation took place from 18 October to 27 December 2019.
On 17 March 2020, the council’s Cabinet approved plans for a new additional licensing scheme (read here – agenda item 17) and the scheme came into force on 1 August 2020.
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You will need planning permission if you are changing your property from a single-family property to a house in multiple occupation (HMO) occupied by more than six people. HMOs occupied by more than six people fall within ‘sui-generis’ use for which planning permission is required. You will also need planning permission if you a splitting up a property into smaller self-contained units of accommodation.
For small HMOs, the rules are a bit more complicated. HMOs occupied and shared by between three and six people fall into planning use class C4 whereas single-family properties fall into planning use class C3.
On 6 July 2022, Hounslow Council announced plans to implement a non-immediate HMO Article 4 Direction throughout most of the borough. Following a consultation from 15 July to 9 September 2022, the Direction was confirmed at a Cabinet meeting on 11 July 2023 and came into force on 8 August 2023.
The effect of the Article 4 Direction is to remove permitted development rights so that planning permission is required to change a property from a single-family home (C3) to an HMO with up to six occupants (class C4). More information can be found on the council’s website.
Remember that this is only intended as general advice and no liability can be accepted for any reliance upon information provided. We would strongly encourage you to contact the Council’s Planning Department or seek independent legal advice before you start a new HMO development.
We certainly can. We understand the challenges of being a private landlord and so we have developed a Landlord Suppliers Directory to provide you with access to the goods and services you need. The Directory concentrates on businesses that operate in the London area.
Whether you a looking for a letting agent, want a property inventory for a new tenancy or fire risk assessment, we have got it covered – and far more besides!
As the leading experts in property licensing, we also offer a range of services ourselves. From handling the licence application process to advice on new HMO developments, we can help to ensure your property business remains compliant. If you need assistance, please drop us a line and see if we can help!
New suppliers are regularly being added and we would encourage you to take a look. Some of our featured listings also contain YouTube videos, helping you to find out more about the business.
There are currently no licensing consultations we are aware of in the London Borough of Hounslow
There are currently no new licensing schemes we are aware of that are being introduced in the London Borough of Hounslow