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HMO licensing regime coming to an end - for now

The Additional Licensing HMO scheme in the Bath and North East Somerset area ends on New Year’s Eve. 

The scheme covers around 1,280 properties, including 823 previously unlicensed HMOs.

The council claims that the scheme, introduced in 2018, resulted in over 1,000 fire safety, heating, security, space and amenities improvements, including 293 upgrades to fire alarm systems. Also, increased general awareness of safety and amenities requirements for shared housing and the council’s knowledge about the location and ownership of HMOs in Bath.


All current Additional HMO licences will expire on December 31 and the council is now considering the evidence for any future schemes.

Councillor Matt McCabe, Bath council cabinet member for Built Environment and Sustainable Development, says: “The Additional HMO Licensing Scheme has done what it set out to do, improve standards and keep tenants safe by ensuring the effective and appropriate management of a property. 

“Importantly it has also helped to reduce the impact of poor HMOs on the community. However we will continue to review all the evidence available to us over the coming months, to see if we need to begin a new scheme.

“I want to assure everyone that the Mandatory HMO licensing, introduced by the Housing Act 2004, continues to operate in Bath and North East Somerset and applies to shared houses or flats occupied by five or more people from different families where tenants share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.”

Failing to have an HMO licence is a criminal offence and is liable on summary conviction to an unlimited fine or a civil penalty of up to £30,000 per offence.

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    Bear in mind that most of the claimed improvements by BANES resulted from moving the goalposts - for example, changes in housing standards introduced by the Council. Also, most of the "previously unlicensed" HMOs formed part of an accreditation scheme operated by the Council. Don't get carried away by the rhetoric!! The original scheme was introduced in 2013, not 2018.

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    So, if the council needs you to have a licencing to know if a property is an HMO then if you don't get a licence you're ok because they can't tell if you have an HMO or not. It's just a money making scheme.


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