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Good management by the HMO owner is vital if the aims of HMO licensing are to be achieved. Physical standards must be maintained, occupiers’ rights must be respected, and any problems which arise during the period of the licence must be effectively addressed. Good management is also key to tackling the issues which most concern neighbours of HMOs, such as building maintenance, cleaning, and noise or disturbance. For these reasons, it is suggested that local authorities should consider the implications of any management issues which come to their attention in deciding whether to grant (or later, to revoke or vary) an HMO licence.  In particular, such information could be relevant to consideration of the suitability of the applicant or agent.

4.13.2             In addition, failure by the HMO owner or agent to comply with obligations to owners of neighbouring properties for communal maintenance and repair may result in action being taken against them by the local authority under housing, nuisance or building standards legislation. Local authorities may wish to consider whether their policy would be for this to be taken into consideration in assessing whether the HMO owner or agent is  a 'fit and proper’ person.

4.13.3             Local authorities have a power to impose such licence conditions as they think fit which may, for example, require certain standards to be maintained through the period of the licence (section 133 of the 2006 Act). As any failure to adhere to licensing conditions is an offence, and can result in the authority revoking the licence, these are an important tool in ensuring that HMO owners adhere to reasonable standards. However, given the gravity of the consequences for HMO owners of failing to comply, careful consideration should be given to any proposed condition before including it in a licence.  Any condition included must be clearly drafted, so that it is clear as to what is expected of the licence-holder from the outset.

4.13.4             Part 4.14 of this guidance includes recommended licensing conditions (LC). These have been prepared following discussion with local authorities. Local authorities can consider incorporating these conditions in all licences granted. These conditions may not be appropriate in all cases, and while it is desirable to have consistency in the requirements for similar types of HMO, it is also necessary for authorities to be flexible in responding to the particular circumstances of each application. In some cases, additional or more tailored conditions reflecting local circumstances may be appropriate.


4.14.1             The following key points are recommended as basic licensing conditions to be considered for inclusion in all HMO licences (numbered “LC” – Licensing Condition). The wording suggested here should be adapted as necessary depending on the circumstances of the application.

4.14.2             As set out above, the local authority should consider carefully the relevance and appropriateness of these, and any other proposed licence conditions, before including them in a licence.  Authorities should give careful consideration to the inclusion of additional conditions where this could help to ensure the continuing suitability of the accommodation for occupation as an HMO.

4.14.3             Local authorities must be mindful of the fact that failure to comply with a licence condition is a criminal offence, and can also result in the licence being revoked.  They should therefore consider whether it would be reasonable and proportionate to impose a particular policy as a licence condition, or whether alternative means of securing the same result exist which would not result in criminalising a failure to comply.

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