Housing Act Guide

What Happens If A Property Is Not Licensed When It Should Be?

The same rules apply to both HMO licences and Selective licences.

Failure to obtain a licence where required has 4 consequences –

  1. a Criminal Offence is committed
  2. rent may have to be repaid under a Rent Repayment Order
  3. in the case of an assured shorthold tenancy a valid Section 21 notice cannot be given so that possession cannot be obtained relying on the notice only “shorthold” provisions.  Restrictions On Terminating Tenancies apply.
  4. a management order must be made, if there is no prospect of a licence being obtained.  Management Orders For Non Licensable Properties mean that the local authority can take over the running of the property in question.

Are there any other offences

As one might expect offences are also committed if the permitted number of occupants is exceeded or if there is a breach of licence conditions. 

What happens if the application has been made?

It is important to note that so long as an application has been made for a licence, which remains undetermined, this is an equivalent to there being a licence already in force. Obviously, if the application is refused and the time for an appeal has run out without an appeal being lodged or the appeal has been refused, then the property is unlicensed. In order to be protected  by submitting an application it could be important to show that a valid application had been made.  In other words the application form would have to be properly completed and any supporting documentation provided and the appropriate fee paid.

Can the local authority take over an unlicensed property?

Yes –  if the house is unlicensed and there is no prospects of the licence being granted then the local authority must make an interim management order and effectively take over the house concerned.  The local authority are under  a statutory duty to take this action.

This document was last updated on: 17/05/2007

General Disclaimer

IMPORTANT: Our website (including the Unique Property Selector) can only give general guidance. You always need to specifically check the status of any property individually and take appropriate advice including general guidance from the local authority where it is located.

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