Withdrawing an HMO application

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    Withdrawing an HMO application

    Withdrawing an application for HMO License -

    I own a house that has previously been arranged as three self contained unifs rental purposes, each with their own bathroom and own kitchens.

    Each unit has had it’s own gas and electricity supplies, though a single water supply and council tax bill.

    This was laid out like this without planning permission.

    I was resident in one of the units, while the other units were rented out under Assured Shorthand Tenancy agreements.

    I have now secured full vacant possession of the whole house, and i currently live alone in the house using all parts of it.

    Due various changed circumstances, i now intend to withdraw the application and re-unify the house into one building for myself.

    The modification i would like to do to the house will be simply to remove two of the kitchens, and any locks on what were previously access doors to separate units, and establish single gas and electricity supply to the house,

    Which can easily be done

    I might in future have a lodger or two, but this would be on the basis of sharing one kitchen, and strictly on the basis that the building is ‘officially’ one residence.

    The house is currently only occupied by myself.

    However, a few months ago, when I was issuing S21 to regain possession of the house I did submit an HMO licence to the council, which stated the usage of the building as three units.

    I did this because of legal advice which stated that, after the introduction of new HMO licensing laws in autumn 2018, without having submitted an HMO licence, S21 could not legally be issued, and furthermore, that I could theoretically have been sued for one year’s rent by the tenants who were in occupation at the time.

    I now intend to withdraw the HMO application, since presumably it is not needed (I currently have no tenants in the building).
    I'd like to go ASAP to a situation where the house is physically reunified, and I have two sharing lodgers (which requires no HMO license, if i understand correctly)

    …but i guess i should be super careful to have the status of the house settled as a single residence before taking lodgers.

    So i would just like to check the following -

    1. By withdrawing the licence application, can i be sure to avoid the council classifying the building as an S257 HMO (which would have been it’s likely status if the application was to be processed)?

    I really don’t want to get trapped in a situation where my house is classified as an S257 HMO, even though I only put such an application in for purposes of securing vacant possession, which has now been achieved.

    2. Am I free to undertake the changes that i describe (removal of two kitchens and establishment of single utility supplies?) even though I've submitted that license application which declares the building to be laid out as separate dwelling units.
    Since the previous separation was undertaken without planning permission anyway, I presume I'm completely free to change things around...especially since there's no one in occupation at the moment?

    Or could I somehow get into trouble for altering things from the way they were described in my HMO application EVEN THOUGH I've changed my mind about the HMO application, and it won't have been processed yet, and I would like to withdraw it).

    If i just withdraw the application, should i be free of any of these considerations?

    in conclusion,
    In my position, what order would you do things? Formally withdraw the application first, then physically unify the house?

    Or just leave the current application to run it's course, 'fail' the existing HMO application, since it's laid out differently by the time they inspect?

    My only worry is that the council, now they got an application in their hands, may be resistent to allowing me to change things BECAUSE they will presumably have a policy of trying to maximise the amount of housing units available in their borough.

    You'd expect withdrawing the application would be sufficient, but they do have evidence that it was laid out as separate units at an earlier point (even if i withdraw the app)

    That's the reason why I'm a bit worried - i have heard of one case where someone had some trouble re-asserting that his house was a single house, simply because it was on record as having been rented as separate units...

    This may only have been a problem that arose specifically when he was trying to sell the house. It cost him a lot of money to sort it out.
    Although I"m not planning to sell now, I'd also like to avoid that problem 'down the line'.

    It may not be possible to provide an 'absolute' answer to this questions, as it may depend on the vagaries of the council...but I'd still appreciate your views on what you'd do and in which order.

    Thanks

    #2
    I'd withdraw the application and convert the property back.
    The council shouldn't have an objection.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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