Bristol City Council has approved plans to extend a licensing scheme in the city.
The additional licensing scheme will include twelve wards in central Bristol and it will come into force on 8th July 2019 .
The wards included in the scheme are:
Ashley, Bishopston and Ashley Down, Central, Clifton, Clifton Down, Cotham, Easton, Hotwells and Harbourside, Lawrence Hill, Redland, Southville and Windmill Hill.
A blanket licence scheme already exists for all private landlords in three areas of Bristol, Stapleton Road area of Easton, and the Eastville and St George West wards.
The Council say that the new scheme has been extended because the twelve wards listed above have been identified as areas with high concentrations of HMOs and where housing and management standards are ‘likely to be poor’ compared with the rest of the city.
The scheme will apply to HMOs,where properties are rented to three or more people who aren’t related.
Last year, the Council ran a consultation on the proposals, which the RLA responded to. In our response, which you can read here, we warned that the licensing scheme being extended could result in increased rents, because of the high licensing fees.
The standards fee for a new licence application is £1200, and the council will reduce the licence fee for accredited landlords. Discounts will also be provided for the following things:
- Minus discount for Rent with Confidence membership only but no safety/EPC certificates: £50
- Minus discount for satisfactory safety/EPC certificates but no Rent with Confidence membership: £150
- Minus discount for both Rent with Confidence membership and satisfactory safety/EPC certificates: £200
- Plus Investigation cost for finding unlicensed property: £100
Mandatory HMO licensing requirements
Since October 2018, the scope of mandatory licensing was extended to include all houses of multiple occupation if it:
- It is occupied by five or more persons;
- is occupied by persons living in two or more separate households; and meets the standard test under section 254(2) of the Act;
- the self-contained flat test under section 254(3) of the Act but is not a purpose-built flat situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats; or
- the converted building test under section 254(4) of the Act.
How to check whether you are required to have a licence
Landlords with a House of Multiple Occupation in the wards listed above should double check whether they are required to obtain a licence in order to lawfully rent out their property. To do this landlords can visit the property licensing webpages on Bristol City Council’s website here.
The online application form is not yet live on the council’s website.
- Interested in learning more about HMOs? Sign up to our Principles of HMOs course, with dates coming up in Preston, London, Cardiff and Stockport.