No license for asylum seeker HMOs plan dropped

The UK Government argued that looser licensing rules would increase the availability of private rented homes for people arriving in the country, however, after safety concerns were cited, these proposals have been withdrawn.


The relaxation of regulations would have allowed landlords to accommodate asylum seekers for two years without having to apply for an HMO licence, which is a requirement for landlords housing other kinds of tenants.

Everyone should have a safe home

A group of eight asylum seekers challenged the draft regulations, stating the proposals were unlawful and challenged the UK Government through court proceedings. Hours before a High Court hearing on xx the UK Government withdrew the policy.

Representing the asylum seekers, Jeremy Bloom of Duncan Lewis Solicitors stated they now have protection against being placed in accommodation which does not meet licensing standards, which is vital to fire safety and to prevent overcrowding.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), which provided evidence for the legal challenge, welcomed the U-turn, stating that the draft regulations risked creating a two-tier system for enforcement of standards in HMOs and could also have incentivised unscrupulous landlords to move into the supply of asylum-seeker accommodation.

Requirements for HMO licensing

Under the Housing Act 2004, an HMO is where three or more people share accommodation and amenities and form two or more separate households. Large HMOs consist of three or more floors and are occupied by five or more people living in two or more single.

Since 6 April 2016, all large HMOs must be licenced under mandatory licensing. Councils have the power to introduce additional licensing schemes which apply to certain HMOs that fall outside the scope of mandatory licensing.

It is a requirement for the landlord or agent managing a licenced HMO (mandatory or additional) to provide an annual gas safety certificate, keep electrical appliances and furniture safe, ensure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted and kept in working order, and provide written tenancy agreements.

Support for agents 

Propertymark produces a range of CPD options and useful resources for our member agents, including webinars, factsheets and training courses.

Our factsheet offers a quick refernce guide to HMO legislation to help keep member agents and their landlords compliant. 

Our HMO training courses are run by Aiden Reed, a Chartered Surveyor who built his own multi-disciplinary residential practice and is now a consultant and an independent assessor for Propetymark Qualifications. Understanding HMOs and the current licensing system delves into The Housing Act 2004 and covers the different licensing models and mandatory licensing reforms, whilst Complexities of HMO Management, Licensing and HHSRS looks at what is involved in running an House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) from licensing to safety obligations.