Housing Act Guide

Variation / Revocation Of Licences

Can a licence once granted by cancelled or altered?

The local authority may vary or revoke an HMO or selective licence.  This can always be done with the agreement of the licence holder.    For instance, if a property which requires to be licensed is sold then, when a new licence is granted, the old licence would be revoked with the agreement of the licence holder.

A licence can also be varied if the authority consider that there has been a change in circumstances.  This includes the discovery of new information. 

When can a licence be cancelled

A licence may be revoked:-

  1. where the licence holder or other person has committed a serious breach of a condition of the licence or repeated breaches of such condition.
  2. the licence holder is not considered to be a fit and proper person
  3. the management of the house is no longer being carried on by someone who is a fit and proper person to be involved in its management
  4. where the house ceases to be a licensable HMO or is a house no longer subject to selective licensing.
  5. where, in the case of a house subject to selective licensing, an HMO licence has instead been granted in respect of that property
  6. for a particular reason relating to the structure of the house. 

What considerations apply when deciding to revoke or vary a licence

When considering a variation or revocation of an HMO licence the authority must apply the same standards as were applicable when the licence was originally granted unless those standards have been revised as a result of the changes in the national prescribed minimum standards.   Thus the same criteria apply as apply when a licence application is first considered.  This is an important provision so far as landlords are concerned because they often complain that standards are “ratcheted up”. In effect, therefore, this can only be done on the fresh grant or renewal of a licence, unless national standards have changed.

Who can apply

Applications for variations or revocations can be made by the licence holder or a number of other people referred to as a “relevant person”

The local authority can also vary or revoke the licence on its own initiative.

When does a variation or revocation take effect

A variation or revocation made with the agreement of the licence holder takes effect at the time when it is made. Otherwise, it does not come into force until the period for appealing has expired, should there be no appeal.  If there is an appeal then it does not come into effect until the decision is given on the appeal.

What is the procedure

There are detailed  procedural requirements relating to the variation or revocation of licences and related appeals.   Prior notice must be given where the variation/revocation proposed is not agreed with the licence holder. Before revoking or varying  the licence the local authority must inform the landlord and the other relevant persons that it intends to do so and must allow a minimum period of 14 days for a response.  The local authority cannot issue its final decision unless it has considered any representations made.   There is a right to appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal if an application for revocation or variation is refused or if it is proposed that  the licence shall be revoked without the licence holders agreement.

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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