Does acquiring S257 HMO status mean you never have to sign off regs and planning?

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    #16
    "Mandatory licensing does not apply to converted blocks of flats which are otherwise known
    as section 257 HMOs. These are subject to management regulations and local housing
    authorities have the discretion to make them subject to additional licensing where they are
    problematic" p10 in first document above.

    So if u not in s257 additional licensing area u still have to comply with the additional provisions regulations. So if the council find out/determine that its a s257 HMO it isnt a licensing issue for which the penalty is very large, but it will be a compliance with regulations issue, which is still not good if u not compliant. Not sure if that is an offence?

    But as Darreng1971 says the council has to win the argument about whether it is a s257 HMO.

    The council could decide to look into whether it is s257 HMO if u or someone tells them or it comes to light during a HHSRS inspection if your T calls in the EHO cos u haven't fixed something etc.

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      #17
      Exactly. The recent changes to HMO regulations don't apply to s257 HMOs so its up to the Council to prove its one if they intend to make you apply. You may want to take legal advice, especially on the wording, but I would be inclined to resist the Council's advances and make them prove it. Making the property an HMO does change the planning use class, so although this shouldnt be a barrier to reinstating it as a home, there may be a process to go through to change the classification. However, the bigger concern is whether the licence conditions would force lots of changes that will not only be costly, but expensive to undo when you restore it to a single dwelling.

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        #18
        Thanks again so much for these posts, which are beginning to make it all a bit clearer.

        The only issue i find myself struggling with is whether or not my specific council requires me to get an HMO license.

        I know that there has been for a long time a 'special licensing area' in the borough, but i'm not in that area, but i'm not clear whether that has effectively been expanded to encompass the entire borough

        (didn't they do something like that in Newham, which is another borough from the one i'm in)

        I have taken advice from a company describing itself as providing services/advice for people seeking HMO license compliance.

        They have informed me that i DO need an s257 HMO license.

        But perhaps that is their 'default' reply. I think i need to get more clear about what may or may not be going on in my specific borough

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          #19
          On my council website there is a page where i can download a map of additional licensing areas which is inside a HMO guidance pdf. I found it by googling 'mycouncilname hmo additional licensing area'.

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            #20
            well, the situation is this

            1.The set up i have is an S257HMO according to anything i can read about it (and this confirmed by an organisation claiming to be a professional advisory organisation/consultancy)

            2. It's NOT in a special licensing area

            3. however, the council website has lots of frightening web pages saying the law has changed and *anyone* with such and such a type of building with more than five tenants etc etc must get a license or get fined, face penalties

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              #21
              There is no statutory requirement for s257 HMOs to be licensed. If the Council require a licence for these properties then there must be something in their Additional Licensing policy about it. See if its on their website or as the Council for it. Ask the Consultancy how they know yours definitely is and whether the Council would be able to determine this without invasive investigation

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                #22
                You'd think, in terms of enforcement, as far as the council is concerned, this would just involve running a very simple algorithm through the electoral register data.

                Any single address with more than four unrelated people must be an HMO, penalty thirty thousand, or unlimited fine.

                They exert far more effort for the much lower level of fines for parking

                My understanding of the Oct 18 legislation is that this applies regardless of specific areas now, though I'm happy to be corrected - any house with more that three unrelated tenants would appear to be an HMO, regardless of special licensing areas

                As such, I just don't understand the prevailing point of view here, from the perspective of common sense

                However, I don't understand the way that councils work, i'd be the first to admit

                I certainly agree it's a good question to ask the consultancy

                Comment


                  #23
                  The first thing, however, is to confirm with the consultants whether or not it requires mandatory licensing. Your very helpful comment and links above certainly seem to suggest it isn't. Thanks again for your help thus far. I can have a much better informed interaction with my consultants now

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                    #24
                    OK ... update in case anyone is still following this thread at this stage.

                    Apparently the consultant reckons i'm obliged to get some kind of 'additional license' according to the prevailing scheme put forward by my council. ...probably as an s257 HMO

                    Though, it seems to me, i could maybe also get a 'bedsit' HMO license ? perhaps not since one of the units is 3 bed.

                    Also, incidentally, if i repossessed the building and converted it to 'one house'...I'd STILL need an additional HMO license of some kind if I had more than four lodgers as tenants (making it five plus me)

                    So an additional HMO license is pretty much unavoidable as an obligation, it seems

                    Quite how and in what way additional licensing is different from mandatory licensing (fines, enforcement, whatever) remains completely obscure to me at this point. Hopefully it may become clearer.

                    The planning and council tax implications of all of this remain pretty arcane and hard to understand at this point...seems there are no 'set' answers.

                    I'm anecdotally told that 'some people think that having any kind of HMO licence reduces value of a building, others don't'. (i.e. clear as mud)

                    But no absolute clarity exists for me at this stage on whether i will or won't have the right to re-unify the building as a family house prior to (eventual) sale.

                    Another layer of uncertainty about the future exists about whether or not and for how long this kind of additional licensing scheme will exist .

                    The duration of the scheme is five years, and then councils have to apply to the govt as to whether they can continue such a scheme further into the future, or alter it.

                    Of greatest interest to me, I suppose, is the question of whether my house value is reduced and what flexibility exists for re-unifying the house prior to sale.

                    Also various worries are there in the background for me about what kind of issues might arise if tenancy law is altered significantly at some future point, as that could tie me up and hinder eventual sale and retirement plans.

                    Other big worries surround the question of whether this will remain my 'main residence' for purposes of capital gains at the point of sale. That's another nightmare and worry, that doesn't seem at all clear to me at this point.

                    The other option for me, I suppose, it to fully 'regularise' the separate units via cert of lawful use ( i have a reasonable case and pretty good evidence via bills and affidavits)

                    Council tax issues (separate bills and valuation versus single tax bill) is just another unknown and issue of worry and uncertainty.

                    Hopefully some kind of clarity will emerge out of the consultation process in due course.

                    It's a huge pain in the backside, even the consultants refer to it as 'quite a complex case'.

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                      #25
                      I think four lodgers is a mandatory HMO licence.

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