Criminal Law

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Offences

We can provide advice for landlords and businesses around operating a HMO.

Have you been accused of breaching HMO laws?

It can be difficult for landlords to keep up to date with their ever changing legal requirements. We are often approached by landlords who were either unaware that they were committing legal offences or require assistance to prepare their best mitigation for court to achieve the best possible outcome. A conviction for a HMO Offence can have serious implications for future HMO licence applications which require a ‘fit and proper’ requirement to be met by applicants. Let us help you today.
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What is a HMO?

A HMO is a House in Multiple Occupation rented to at least three people who are not from the same household (i.e. family) but have shared facilities such a bathroom and kitchen – often referred to as a Houseshare. Many council’s require landlords to have a licence to operate a HMO.
These licences usually last for five years and have conditions i.e. that the house is suitable for the number of occupants, the manager of the property or agent does not have a criminal record of previous breach of landlord laws or code of practice.

The law regarding HMO Offences.

Lucinda Dore Solicitors can assist you by presenting your case to the court on your behalf. We do all the talking for you, helping to alleviate the anxiety and stress that you are no doubt feeling as you await your court case.

HMO without a licence or in breach of a licence.

Under Section 72 of the Housing Act 2004, a person is considered to commit an offence if they:
have control or management of a HMO without a licence when required to have one, or they fail to comply with the conditions of a licence granted.
These offences are punishable by way of an unlimited fine. We can help you establish if you have a defence of reasonable excuse for non-compliance.

Failure to comply with council managing regulations. 

Under Section 234 of the Housing Act 2004, councils may impose regulations to ensure satisfactory management arrangements and standards of management are observed, for example, in respect of:
● the repair, maintenance, cleanliness and good order of the house, and facilities and equipment in it.
While it is an offence to breach these regulations, it is a defence to prove that you had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply.

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Criminal Law

HMO Offences Solicitors based in West Sussex and London, serving clients throughout the UK

Our expert solicitors know your questions. We have the answers. We can help you.

Do I need planning permission to rent out a HMO?

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 grants planning permission for a change of use from C3 single dwelling property to C4 HMO.
However, change of use of a C3 dwelling property (used by a single person or family) to C4 HMO (up to 6 unrelated individuals) will require planning permission if the council requires, having enforced an Article 4 Direction under the Town and Planning Act 1990 (amended) that removes the permitted development rights for change of use from C3 to C4. More and more councils are enforcing Article 4 Directions – particularly if there is a large number of HMOs in the area.

We can help you find out if your intended HMO use of a property requires planning permission or a licence.

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What we do.

Many landlords do not appreciate the implications of breaches which can lead to prosecutions in the criminal courts. Most offences are dealt with by way of a fine – we can help you to reduce the fine amount by preparing your own personal mitigation using our expert knowledge and experience.

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  • Who we help.

    Lucinda Dore Solicitors can assist landlords accused of any draconian laws affecting the management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). We can also help businesses who need guidance to explain the relevant laws to ensure offences are not committed in the first place.
    For advice in respect of a HMO Offence, or any Local Authority investigation or prosecution, contact Lucinda Dore via the online enquiry form below. We are experts in this field, and offer an affordable and friendly service from the moment you instruct us. We are always happy to help you in your time of need.