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Multiple Occupation: Licensing

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 12th February 2020.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many houses in multiple occupation are licensed by local authorities; and what estimate he has made of the number of unlicensed houses in multiple occupation in England; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Holding answer received on 10 February 2020

The Department gathers data from local authorities on the estimated number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) annually. According to our most recent data covering 2018-2019, there are an estimated 516,000 HMOs.

There are an estimated 140,000 properties which are licensable under mandatory HMO licensing, of these there are an estimated 76,000 currently unlicensed. Mandatory licensing applies to properties with five or more people from two or more households who share facilities, such as a kitchen and bathroom. Landlords are required to obtain a licence for these properties. Other HMOs may be subject to additional licensing by local authorities where there are 3 or more people sharing facilities. HMO licensing protects tenants from overcrowding and poor housing conditions.

It is a duty of local authorities to ensure all licensable properties are licensed and that landlords who illegally let out unlicensed properties are prosecuted. Government is working with local authorities to support them to meet this duty through using the powers available to them.

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