Owners of rented houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are required by the Housing Act 2004 to have them licensed by the Council.  An HMO requires a Mandatory Licence where it is occupied by five or more people forming more than one household; the Council has discretionary powers to require other HMOs to be licensed - see Additional Licensing, below.  The online application form can be found on the Licensing Process [/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/8] page; these pages also contain information on standards and legislation for HMOs.

Additional Licensing

From 4 May 2020, an Additional Licensing Designation [/downloads/file/31783/signed_designation] has come into effect across the city, requiring HMOs with fewer than five persons and HMOs with no shared amenities to be licensed. We have added a new Additional licensing page [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/licensing-regulation/hmo-licensing/16] with further information.

Landlord accreditation

Coventry City Council is now offering a free, voluntary accreditation scheme for landlords. Being accredited by us may entitle you to cheaper, longer lasting licences for your properties. Please visit our Landlord Accreditation [/clas] pages for more information.

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

News

Sign up to our Landlord Forum mailing list [https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKCOVENTRY/subscriber/new?topic_id=UKCOVENTRY_89] to receive news and updates relevant to Coventry landlords.

View all previous issues of the Coventry Landlord Newsletter [http://www.coventry.gov.uk/landlordforum].

This page was last updated 02 October 2023.

New licensing software

The Property Licensing and Housing Enforcement team have been working on the implementation of new software, which should streamline the HMO licensing process. The main improvements for customers are:

  • Functionality which allows you to save an application at any stage of the process
  • An online portal which stores all application history, with separate sections for pending applications and licences issued. Customers will be able to view the status of each application and any outstanding fees that need to be paid.
  • The ability to copy the application and resubmit it for another property address – very useful for student blocks with multiple HMOs of the same layout
  • A triage system to help establish which licence you need to apply for
  • An improved licence register that allows you to search licensed properties, and will be updated live rather than monthly.

We went through the testing stage and we are planning to go live with new and renewal HMO applications and Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN) applications on 26 September 2022.

In order to submit a new/renewal HMO application and TEN application, you will be required to register on the Online Portal [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/]. You will be able to save your details, to avoid imputing them every time when applying for a licence.

It should be noted that transferring all the historical data from the new system will take some time, therefore Applications to Vary [https://myaccount.coventry.gov.uk/service/Licensing_a_house_in_multiple_occupation___variation] or Revoke [https://myaccount.coventry.gov.uk/en/service/hMO___Revocation_Of_Licence] the Licence will remain the same. We will also have 2 separate Public Registers – the existing one [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/licensing-regulation/hmo-licensing/14] and new one available in the Online Portal [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/]. We will be informing customers when we move to the new software fully.

Article 4 Direction

On 30 September 2023, an Article 4 direction was implemented across certain wards in Coventry. This direction removed the permitted development right to change the use of a C3 property (“dwellinghouse”) to a C4 property (“house in multiple occupation”) within the following wards: Cheylesmore, Earlsdon, Foleshill, Lower Stoke, Radford, St. Michael's, Sherbourne, Wainbody, Whoberley, Westwood and Upper Stoke.

Any person wishing to convert a residential house into an HMO within the affected wards will first need to make a change of use planning application [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/planning-2/making-planning-application], even if the HMO will have fewer than seven tenants. Properties that were already in lawful use as HMOs with fewer than seven tenants before the direction came into effect will not need to make a planning application.  However, if such a property ceases to be used as an HMO (for example, if it is rented to a single family) then a change of use planning application will need to be made to bring the property back into use as an HMO.

Landlord accreditation

We have recently launched the Coventry Landlord Accreditation Scheme (CLAS). This is a free, voluntary scheme that private residential Landlords and Letting Agents are encouraged to join. The aims of the scheme are to improve the condition and management of the private rented sector in Coventry. We will encourage, acknowledge and actively promote good standards of privately rented accommodation with the aim of assisting Landlords, Letting Agents and tenants to undertake their respective responsibilities to each other. Landlords accredited by the scheme may be eligible for cheaper, longer-lasting HMO licences.

To find out more about the scheme, please visit the Landlord Accreditation [http://www.coventry.gov.uk/clas] web pages.

Additional licensing

During the first quarter of 2019, we consulted on proposals relating to Additional Licensing [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/14] across the city. This will require those HMOs which do not meet the criteria for Mandatory Licensing to be licensed.  

We also consulted on proposals relating to Selective Licensing in selected wards. This would require all non-HMO privately rented properties within the designated areas to be licensed.

The consultation has now closed, and the results have been assessed by Cabinet and Full Council. Following the assessment, it was determined:

  • To approve the scheme relating to the whole of the city being subject to Additional Licensing.
  • Not to progress with Selective Licensing at this time.

As a consequence, from 4 May 2020, HMOs in Coventry comprising fewer than five persons now need to be licensed, as will certain properties that have been converted into self-contained flats ("Section 257 HMOs"). You can find out more about property licensing [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3277/property_licensing]

The application process is the same for all types of HMO. We have recently updated our application form [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/8] to make it simpler to use.

New fees

We have updated our HMO licence fees [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/7] from 1 April 2023. 

Supporting Certificates for Licence Applications

We appreciate that landlords may not have been able to enter properties to obtain certificates when the Additional Licensing designation was introduced.  Following the removal COVID-19 restrictions by the Government, we expect landlords to provide all required up-to-date certificates to us at the time of submitting a HMO licence application. A full list of the necessary supporting certificates is available on the Licensing Process [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/8] page of this website.

We would take this opportunity to remind landlords that as a consequence of legislative changes that have recently taken effect, it is now a requirement to have an up-to-date electrical safety certificate for all privately rented properties, regardless of HMO status.

Should lockdown measures be reintroduced, we will send out a further update via the landlord forum mailing list [https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKCOVENTRY/subscriber/new?topic_id=UKCOVENTRY_89]. Up-to-date information is also available on this news page. 

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

What is an HMO?

HMO stands for “House in Multiple Occupation.” To be an HMO, a property has to meet all of the following criteria:

  • It is privately rented
  • There are three or more people living in the property
  • In two or more households – i.e. at least one person is not related to any other person who lives in the property
  • At least two people who are not related to each other share the use of kitchen, bathroom or lavatory facilities.

Certain properties that have been converted into self-contained flats are also deemed to be HMOs.

If you and your family live in the house in question as owner-occupiers, you can have up to two lodgers without the property being considered an HMO.

Note that placing your tenants on a joint tenancy agreement does not cause them to be related to each other; a house rented to three or more students on a joint tenancy will therefore be an HMO.

Does my HMO need a licence?

As of 4 May 2020, all HMOs in Coventry require a licence, regardless of how many persons live in them. In order to make a licence application, please visit the Licensing Process [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/8] tab.

There are a few exemptions to the above requirement:

  • An HMO converted entirely into self-contained flats in accordance with 1991 Building Regulation standards
  • Buildings controlled or managed by public sector bodies (such as councils and housing associations)
  • Buildings occupied solely or principally by students on full time courses, where the education establishment owns and manages the property and has signed up to an Approved Code of Practice (in Coventry this currently only applies to campus and large purpose-built buildings - it does not apply to off-campus houses where Warwick Accommodation or Future Lets act as managing agents.)
  • Buildings regulated by other legislation such as some care homes, bail hostels etc.
  • Buildings entirely occupied by freeholders or long leaseholders
  • A building for which a temporary exemption notice [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/10#TEN] has been served

If you would like an officer to inspect your property to determine whether it is licensable and whether any works are required to bring it up to HMO standard, you can pay for a pre-licensing advice visit [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/6#PLA].

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

HMOs and planning permission

This Page was last updated: 17 November 2023

If you are converting a residential house into a HMO that lies within one of the eleven wards (see list below) included within the HMO Article 4 designated area, you will need to apply for change of use [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/makeplanningapplication].

Planning permission will also be required in the following circumstances:

  • The HMO will have seven or more tenants
  • You are putting cooking facilities in individual lets
  • the property has restrictive planning conditions prohibiting such a change.

Additionally, if you want to add more tenants to an HMO and the new number of tenants will be seven or greater, you will also need to make a change of use application.

If you are doing additional work in order to make the house HMO ready – for example, adding an extension or a new dormer – then planning permission may also be required. See the Planning Portal [https://www.planningportal.co.uk/] website for more information. 

If you are converting a building that was not previously a residential house into an HMO, you may also require a change of use – see the Planning Portal [https://www.planningportal.co.uk/] for more information.

See any current planning applications and submit comments. [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/planningapplications]

Building Work

If you are adding an extension or a new dormer then like for any dwelling, planning permission may be required. See the Planning Portal [https://www.planningportal.co.uk/permission] website for more information.

Article 4

From 30th September 2023, if you change a property occupied by a single household, or a maximum of two people, to an HMO, you’ll need to apply for planning permission [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/makeplanningapplication].

A family home (one household), or a property occupied by a maximum of two people, is known as Planning Use Class C3. A HMO is known as Planning Use Class C4. The legal definition [https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/653/made] of C4 is provided by section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 [https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/254]. Converted blocks of self-contained flats are not included in the definition (section 257 [https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/257]). 

To move from C3 to C4 will require planning permission in certain wards of Coventry. The Wards are: Cheylesmore, Earlsdon, Foleshill, Lower Stoke, Radford, St. Michael's, Sherbourne, Wainbody, Whoberley, Westwood and Upper Stoke. You can enter your property postcode here [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/councillorsearch] to find out which ward it’s in.

C4 means HMOs occupied by three to six people. HMOs occupied by seven or more people is known as Sui Generis and have always needed planning permission when changing from C3. You will also need planning permission if you’re moving from C4 to Sui Generis. The rules on seven-person Sui Generis Use Class apply city-wide.

Properties that were already in lawful use as HMOs with fewer than seven tenants before the direction came into effect will not need to make a planning application.  However, if such a property ceases to be used as an HMO (for example, if it is rented to a single family) then a change of use planning application will need to be made to bring the property back into use as an HMO.

The Article 4 direction has no bearing on existing HMO licences, or on future HMO licences for properties that were HMOs prior to the designation. However, if we determine that a property is operating as an HMO without the benefit of the correct planning permission, we will only issue a one-year licence for that property, and will include a condition requiring that the correct permission is sought. Please note that this is not a guarantee that planning permission will be granted.

In addition, where a property is found to be operating without the correct planning permission, the Planning Enforcement team [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/planningenforcement] may take legal action against the owner.

The Property Licensing Team is not able to provide any further information or answer any queries about the Article 4 designation. Please direct any queries to the Planning Policy team [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/planning-policy].  For further information about how planning applications for HMOs will be assessed, please see Planning Policy’s HMO Development Plan [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/planning-policy/homes-multiple-occupation-development-plan-document].

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Fire safety

For general advice about fire safety standards in HMOs read the Homestamp document in our advice library [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/file/27567/homestamp_-_fire_safety_standards].

Fire Risk Assessments

All licensed HMOs must have a fire risk assessment.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 [http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1541/contents/made] requires the ‘responsible person’, who could be the landlord/licence holder or an agent with full management control, to carry out and regularly review a fire risk assessment. This is enforced by the Fire and Rescue Authority.

The fire risk assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’, and assistance from an appropriately competent person should be sought as necessary to achieve this.

GOV.UK: information and guidance on completing a fire risk assessment [http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-risk-assessment-sleeping-accommodation]
Coventry City Council's fire safety standards are available to view in the Homestamp document in our advice library [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/file/27567/homestamp_-_fire_safety_standards].

West Midlands Fire Service has published an interactive website to help people spot fire-related dangers in the home [http://www.room9media.com/fire/].

We do not require you to submit a fire risk assessment as part of the licence application process; however, it is a legal requirement that you have one in place and we may require you to produce a copy at any point during the lifespan of your licence. Please note also that if you apply for a two- or five-year licence, you will be asked to certify that you have carried out a fire risk assessment. Our acceptance of your fire risk assessment/self-declaration does not protect you from any action required by the Fire and Rescue Authority. Should the Fire and Rescue Authority carry out an audit of your risk assessment, you could be asked to undertake further work or be subject to enforcement action.

Fire alarms and emergency lighting

Landlords are required to test and maintain fire alarm and emergency lighting systems in accordance with the British Standards.

  • Grade D fire alarm systems should be tested regularly. Testing and maintenance must be in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. It is highly recommended to carry out regular checks of the system by utilising the integral test button and maintain a record of these checks using the system logbook, such as the one contained within the “Fire, Gas and Electrical Safety Log Book for Landlords” provided by Coventry City Council. The system should always be checked if the occupier has been away or there has been an interruption in the power supply. A full system test and service must be completed annually by a competent person in line with BS5839. Landlords can self-certify this has been completed if they feel confident that they can carry out both the maintenance and testing in line with manufacturers' instructions.
  • Grade A fire alarm systems should be tested regularly. The system must be inspected and serviced at periods not exceeding six months in accordance with the recommendations of Clause 45 of BS 5839-1:2013. An inspection and servicing certificate of the type contained in H.6 of BS 5839-1:2013 should be issued by a suitably qualified and competent person.
  • Where emergency lighting is provided within the property, the emergency lighting systems should be tested regularly and a full system test and service must be completed annually by a competent person in line with BS5266. Landlords can self-certify this has been completed.

Logbooks and self-certification forms are available to download [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/6311/property_safety_self-certification]. Please note that by self-certifying an annual safety check, the landlord is taking full responsibility for the testing and maintenance of the system; making a false declaration can result in formal enforcement action being taken.

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Advice and guidance

You can sign up to our Landlord Forum mailing list [https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKCOVENTRY/subscriber/new?topic_id=UKCOVENTRY_89] to receive news and updates relevant to Coventry landlords.

View all previous issues of the newsletter [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/landlordforum].

We have a dedicated advice library [http://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/5174/hmos_-_information_for_landlords_and_tenants] for landlords and tenants of HMO properties. As a landlord, you should make sure you read the documents from the library so that you aware of your basic responsibilities.

Pre-licensing advice visits

We are not able to offer any general advice on HMO legislation beyond that contained on this website. If you are considering converting a property into an HMO, and you would like us to visit your property to advise you on the HMO licensing requirements before you apply, please contact us. There is a charge of £270.00 plus VAT (£324.00) for this service.

To pay, please:

Once you have paid, you need to register on the Online Portal [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/]. If you are already registered (since September 2022), you can just log in. Then go to Service Requests section select Pre-licensing advice option. You will be required to provide some basic information in order for us to arrange a visit.

We will respond within 14 days, and arrange with you to inspect the property. Please note that we can only provide assistance with Housing legislation; if you have queries about Planning [https://www.planningportal.co.uk/] or Building Regulations [http://www.coventry.gov.uk/buildingcontrol] standards, please consult the relevant web pages.

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Fees and charges

Our licence fee structure consists of two stages:

  • The Stage 1 fee must be paid when you make the application for the application process costs. Please only pay the Stage 1 fee when you make your licence application.
  • The Stage 2 fee must be paid within 14 days of Decision to Issue the Licence and it will be a condition of the licence that this fee is paid. We will advise you of the Stage 2 fee if and when we serve our 'Intention to grant the licence' (Draft Licence). The amount of Stage 2 fee depends on the length of the licence granted [/hmo].

Your application is not “duly made” until the stage 1 fee is paid.

Licence fees

Application type Stage 1 fee Stage 2 fee Total fee
Higher Rate New Application - New application for a one-year licence where the HMO has been found to be operating unlicensed for more than 12 weeks £640.00 £1,220.00 £1,860.00
Standard New Application -
New application for a one-year* licence where:
i) The HMO was acquired and/or began operating as an HMO within the previous 12 weeks; or
ii) The licence expired before a valid renewal application was completed; or
iii) Change of existing licence holder.
*May be eligible for longer licence in cases of  i) or iii) if licence holder holds other HMO licences with us and all relevant criteria are met at time of application
£640.00 £660.00 £1,300.00
New application – Two-year licence where all eligibility criteria [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/9] are met £640.00 £290.00 £930.00
New application – Five year licence where all eligibility criteria [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/9] are met £640.00 £200.00 £840.00
Standard Renewal - Renewal of a licence £640.00 £170.00 £810.00

Please note that in order to be eligible for a renewal licence, you must submit your application while the existing licence is still current, and you must be the existing licence holder - HMO Licences are not transferable, so an application made by a new owner is de facto a new application.

A renewal fee applies only if the licence is being renewed for the same period as the existing licence. If, upon the expiration of your current licence, you wish to renew for a different period (to a maximum of five years), you must pay the new application fee for the new licence length. Please note that if you were issued a five year licence under the pre-2019 structure, you will need to evidence that you meet the eligibility criteria [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/9] in order to renew for five years.

How to pay

  • If you submitted a HMO application on or after 26 September 2022 please login to the licensing portal [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/index.html] for payments.
  • If you submitted a HMO application before 26 September 2022, please make your payment online [http://www.coventry.gov.uk/payonline] and select “business and licensing” and then:
    • Mandatory HMO Licence for properties with five or more tenants sharing amenities
    • Additional HMO Licence for properties with fewer five tenants, or with no shared amenities

We will issue a receipt for all payment methods upon request.

Optional charges for other services available
Service type Price
HMO licensing advice (per visit) – optional visit to determine whether the property is suitable to be licensed and advise on requirements for property to be used as an HMO.

£260.00 plus VAT (£312.00)

Charge for printing and posting Paper HMO Applications. £35.00
Charge for additional Paper HMO Applications. £12.00

The licensing fees are set to recover the administrative and inspection costs. We can only offer refunds upon withdrawal of an application as below.

Refunds

Stage 1 fees for withdrawn applications will no longer be refundable from 1 April 2022. However, we will continue to assess requests for refunds depending on specific circumstances on a case by case basis.

If you withdraw your HMO licence application and it is subsequently found that you are operating the property as an HMO then you will be required to make a new application and may be subject to formal enforcement action for operating an unlicensed HMO.

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Licensing process

Please note that the application process described on this page applies to both Mandatory and Additional licence applications.

New applications

To make a licence application valid (and thus for a landlord to fulfil their statutory duty to apply for a licence) we need: 

  1. A fully completed application form. [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/index.html]
  2. A signed declaration [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/7889/hmo-declaration-forms]
  3. The fee paid in full [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/index.html]

Information you need for an application 

You must provide contact details for all interested parties, including:

  • Applicant
  • Proposed licence holder
    • Proof of identity (passport or driving licence photo card scan)
  • Manager(s)
  • Owner/Joint owners
  • Any long-term tenant(s)/leaseholder(s)
  • Any other person willing to be bound by the conditions of the licence
  • The mortgage provider(s)

You must have informed all of these people of your intention to apply for an HMO licence before submitting your application, and you will be asked to provide the date on which you (the applicant) informed each party.

You must also provide details of:

  • Knowledge of the criminal record, if any, of the applicant, proposed licence holder and manager
  • Details of relevant accreditations, qualifications and professional memberships
  • Knowledge of the existing planning status of the house
  • Details regarding the facilities and amenities of the house
  • Details of the tenancy agreement(s)
  • Details of the scheme in which the tenancy deposits are held

Supporting documents

You must provide all of the following supporting documents and certificates:

  • If the licence holder is a person, valid photo ID – a passport or driving licence (full or provisional)
  • A current, valid gas safety certificate
  • A current, valid electrical safety certificate – Electrical Installation Certificate or Periodic Inspection Report
  • A current, valid fire alarm test certificate
  • A current, valid emergency lighting test certificate, if there is emergency lighting in the property
  • An energy performance certificate (EPC)
  • A PAT certificate for any electrical equipment supplied to the tenants that is more than a year old
  • If the HMO is within the Article 4 direction [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/licensing-regulation/hmo-licensing/4#Article4], you will need to provide evidence that the property is lawfully in use as use class C4. This could be:

Where a certificate comprises multiple pages, you must provide the whole certificate, not just the first page.

Where there is emergency lighting in the property, you can submit the appropriate self-certification form in lieu of an electrician-provided testing certificate. Similarly, where there is Grade D interlinked fire detection in the property, you can submit the appropriate self-certification form in lieu of an electrician-provided testing certificate. See the Fire Safety [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/5] page for more information and to download the forms. You will also find here a useful testing logbook.

Please note:

  • If it is your first time using our new system for HMO applications, you will be required to register a new account. For more information on registering please see our advice and guidance webpage [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/5174/hmos_-_information_for_landlords_and_tenants] for a guide on registering.
  • We must have separate contact details for all interested parties
  • Applicants who do not have their own email address can nominate a relative, friend or colleague to receive email communications on their behalf.
  • Applicants who do not have their own access to the web can arrange with a relative, friend or colleague to submit an application on their behalf. Alternatively, public computers are available in Broadgate House, Customer Service Centre reception or in public libraries.
  • We can offer posting a paper HMO application that can be used to submit a licence application. There is an additional charge for this service, please see our fees and charges [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/7] page for more details.

Apply online for an HMO Licence [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/index.html]

What we will do next

We will process your form and (if necessary) contact you to complete the application process or to book an appointment to carry out an inspection of the property.

It is a condition of all HMO licences in Coventry that you send us updated certificates each year as they expire, so we always hold an up-to-date copy in our records.

Unsatisfactory certificates will not be accepted; any remedial works identified on the certificates must be completed and a new satisfactory certificate submitted.

We will inspect the property and draft licence conditions

After we have received your valid application, we will arrange to inspect the house.

We will then draft licence conditions based on the findings from this inspection. The draft licence (known as an intention notice) will be posted to you and other interested parties for consultation.

You will have an opportunity to make any representations, which we will consider.

Make an HMO licence representation [mailto:hmo@coventry.gov.uk?subject=Representations]

We will then grant your HMO licence (known as the decision notice). Again, copies will be sent to all interested parties.

If you are still unhappy with the conditions, you will have an opportunity to appeal to the first-tier property tribunal.

We will re-inspect the property later to check conditions have been complied with. Failing to comply with any conditions on your licence is an offence.

If you are a new landlord and have never licensed an HMO before then your first licence will run for one (1) year, and you must renew your HMO licence before it expires. After your first year, you may get the opportunity to apply for longer licences, provided you meet all the renewal criteria [http://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/9].

Renewals

You must renew your licence before it expires.

All HMO licences require completion of a valid renewal application before the current licence expires. Late Renewal submissions will be rejected and a new application will be required.

A valid licence renewal means:

  1. Completed renewal form
  2. Fee Paid
  3. Declaration signed and returned

All HMO licence holders and managers must be 'fit and proper persons'.

We send a renewal reminder approximately two months before licence expiry.

If requested by the Council, you must send us new copies of up-to-date safety certificates within 7 days of receiving such a request.

We will issue your licence automatically based on the information available and documents provided at this time.

The criteria for two year and five year licences [http://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/9].

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Length of licence

Coventry City Council now issues mandatory licences for one-, two- and five-year periods. To be eligible for a given length of licence, the landlord must meet all the criteria set out below at the point of application. In order for this assessment to be made the application will need to be valid at this stage. (See website for details on how to make a valid application).  View the fees and charges for each licence period [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/7].

One year licence

You will receive a one-year licence if you submit a valid HMO licence application.

There are no additional prerequisite criteria for receiving an annual licence. The proposed licence holder and the proposed manager must be a “fit and proper person” as defined by the Housing Act 2004 [https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/66] and must have a registered UK address. The HMO must be suitable for occupation for the number of people you wish to accommodate. Although not a prerequisite for receiving a one-year licence, you still have a legal duty to comply with all relevant Acts and Regulations; including (but not restricted to) the Housing Act 2004, Planning and Building Regulations, and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

To receive an annual licence, you and the manager of the HMO must also be a “competent” person and there must be no concerns over the management of the house.

All first-time licensees will normally receive one-year licences unless they are able to provide evidence that they have other licensed properties in England or Wales.  The Council will consider (but not guarantee to grant) applications for a two- or five-year licence if operating other licensed HMOs is the only eligibility criterion which is not met.

Two-year licence

To receive a two-year licence, you must submit a valid application and meet all of the following criteria:

  • Good management at the property
  • Good application history - all documents submitted on time
  • No subsequent reminders for outstanding information, documents or payment needed after the initial contact regarding an invalid application
  • No issues from other internal and external departments (e.g. Planning, Building Control, Police, HMRC, Immigration (BA))
  • The property benefits from the correct planning permission [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/licensing-regulation/hmo-licensing/4]
  • Minor health and safety/disrepair/fire safety conditions on the licence
  • All licence conditions completed on compliance inspection (renewals only)
  • Have a maximum of two justified service requests (complaints about the property we have taken action to resolve)
  • No missed appointments (when running late, Council is informed), no difficulty arranging appointments
  • All rooms available to inspect on the first inspection, with no need for revisits
  • Fire Risk Assessment in place

Five-year licence

To receive a five-year licence you must submit a valid application and meet all of the following criteria, in addition to the two-year criteria described above:

  • Good application history - all documents submitted on time
  • No subsequent reminders for outstanding information, documents or payment needed after the initial contact regarding an invalid application
  • Proposed Licence Holder and proposed Manager are accredited [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/clas] by the Council
  • Where a rent-to-rent provider is bound by the licence conditions, this provider must also be accredited by the Council
  • Proposed Licence holder to provide a recent DBS certificate if not accredited/not seeking accreditation with CLAS or ANUK and where the agent is accredited/member of ANUK and is acting as the manager with full management responsibility for the property. Request a check [https://www.gov.uk/guidance/basic-dbs-checks-guidance].
  • Adhere to the principles set out in the Private Rented Sector Code of Practice [https://www.theprs.co.uk/Resource/ViewFile/34]
  • Good management at the property:
  • Arrangements in place for regular maintenance/repairs i.e. British Gas Homecare or similar
  • Arrangements in place for the cleaning, e.g. cleaning contracts
  • Membership of other professional association – RICS, ARLA (agent only)
  • No issues from other internal and external departments (e.g. Planning, Building Control, Police, HMRC, Immigration (BA))
  • A management arrangement and terms of business in place. A copy of this agreement to be provided on request (applies only if a property is managed by an agent)
  • No additional conditions added on compliance inspection (renewals only)
  • No missed appointments or over 10 minutes late; landlord will co-operate with Council officers to arrange inspections and all rooms are available for the inspection
  • No justified service requests (complaints to the Council by tenants or other parties about conditions in the house)
  • Landlord or agent carry out inspections themselves at least every 6 months and at the beginning and end of the tenancy.
  • Fire Risk Assessment in place
  • Managing Agents (with sole or joint management responsibility) meet the following additional criteria:
    • Company employees are suitably qualified in property management
    • All employees carry out regular continued professional development
    • The company is registered with a recognised professional association

Renewing your licence

When renewing your licence, a valid application with all documentation and stage 1 fee must be received before the expiry date of your current licence.  After this date a renewal will not be possible, a new application must be submitted. Renewals are for the same licence length. For example, if you had a 2 year licence and want to apply for a 2 year licence then you can make a renewal application. However, if you were applying for a longer licence length then a new application would be required.

Self-Certification

If you apply to us via our online application form [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/8], you will be asked to certify there that you meet the relevant eligibility criteria. If you are applying to renew a licence or need to update an open licence application, you can download and complete one of our self-certification forms [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/5556/hmo_self-certification]. Please return the form by e-mail to hmo@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:hmo@coventry.gov.uk], making reference in the subject header to the address of the property in question. .

Important information - your responsibilities

It is your responsibility to meet all of the eligibility criteria for the licence and provide all necessary evidence when requested. If you do not provide all requested documentation in time, we will automatically assess your application based on the evidence we hold and issue a licence accordingly, which will generally be an annual licence.

Should any issues arise or new information be discovered after the licence is issued, Coventry City Council reserves the right to revoke the licence. If you are found to have provided false or misleading information or made a false declaration, we may take enforcement action against you.

We aim to issue a new licence within 20 weeks from the date of application (due to Coronavirus, we have extended deadlines for landlords and therefore have extended the processing time – it was previously 18 weeks). Issuing a licence within this time frame is dependent on the landlord supplying the required information and payment within timescales and that no representations are made. Where information or payments are late, or representations made, then the processing time will be longer. Tacit consent does not apply given that we have to check the HMO meets the prescribed standards. If you have not heard from us within 20 weeks, then please contact us.

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Varying your licence

You must notify this department within twenty-one days to report any of the following changes of circumstance:

  • The licence holder's address changes
  • The manager's address changes
  • The existing manager is removed
  • A new manager is appointed

In addition, you can apply to us to if you wish to change the following details on your licence:

  • Increase the maximum permitted persons
  • Increase the maximum permitted households
  • Amend or remove specific conditions from Schedule 2

There is no charge to apply to vary your licence, and you will be in breach of your licence conditions if you do not notify us of the above changes in a timely manner.

  • If you wish to vary the maximum households permitted in the property, you may need to provide plans showing the new layout.
  • If you wish to appoint a new manager, you will need to certify that they are a fit and proper person.

Apply for Licence Variation [http://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/index.html]

Licensing system maintenance

Please note that our licensing software recently underwent a complete update. The licensing system is now live and we can accept licence applications. 

Changes of ownership

You must notify us if you sell a licensed HMO. HMO licences are not transferable; the licence against the property will end at the point of sale and the new owner will need to submit a new licence application. It is the licence holder’s responsibility to apply to cancel (revoke) the licence.

Ceasing use as a HMO

If you intend to stop using the property as an HMO, you must inform the Housing Enforcement team. The licence can then be revoked after which you will not need to comply with the licence conditions.

If your licence is about to expire and you decide to change the use of the house and stop using it as a licensable HMO, you do not need to apply for a licence if you apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN) [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/index.html]. Please note that we can only grant a TEN if you are taking active steps to bring the property out of licensability.

Licensing system maintenance

Please note that our licensing software recently underwent a complete update. The licensing system is now live and we can accept licence applications. 

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Renewing your licence

To renew your licence, you must send us a complete application before the existing licence expires. Late applications will only be eligible for a 1-year licence. Late Renewal submissions will be rejected and a new application will be required. Renewals are for the same licence length. For example, if you had a 2 year licence and want to apply for a 2 year licence then you can make a renewal application. However, if you were applying for a longer licence length then a new application would be required.

Apply to renew your licence [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/index.html]

Download a renewal declaration form [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/7889/hmo-declaration-forms].

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Cancelling (revoking) your licence

Within Coventry, all privately rented properties occupied as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) require a licence. Under section 70 of the Housing Act 2004, [https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/70] a licence can be revoked either on agreement or on the Council’s own initiative.

Revocation on the Council’s initiative

The licence can be revoked for the following reasons:

  • where the authority consider that the licence holder or any other person involved in management of the property has committed a serious breach of a condition of the licence or repeated breaches of such a condition;
  • where the authority consider that the licence holder or a manager is not a fit and proper person (more information about necessary standards to be met to be considered as “Fit and Proper Person” [http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/66])
  • where the authority consider that the HMO is not suitable for the number of households or persons specified in the licence 

In this scenario, the Council will serve you a Notice of Intend to Revoke the licence, providing reasons of the intent. You will have an opportunity to make any representations, which we will consider.

Revocation on agreement

HMO licences are not transferable, therefore if an HMO has been sold, a licence holder has changed or if it is no longer classed as an HMO, the licence must be revoked.  

A revocation made with the agreement of the licence holder takes effect at the time when it is made. The Council can revoke or refuse to revoke the licence and the licence holder will be informed about Council’s decision in writing.

To submit a revocation application please click the below 'Apply for a licence revocation button'. Once this has taken you to our licensing webpage please select 'Requests'. From here select 'Submit a Request' and then 'Revocation Application (Cancelling your HMO Licence)'. 

Apply for licence revocation [http://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/index.html] 

Licensing system maintenance

Please note that our licensing software recently underwent a complete update. The licensing system is now live and we can accept licence applications. 

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Buying an HMO?

HMO licences are not transferable, therefore if a property with a HMO Licence has been sold, a licence holder has changed or if it is no longer an HMO, the licence must be revoked.

If an HMO application is still in progress but the property has been sold, then you should email hmo@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:hmo@coventry.gov.uk] and inform us so that we can withdraw the HMO application.

When a licensed HMO has been sold, the licence holder should apply to revoke their licence [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/licensing-regulation/hmo-licensing/12]. Otherwise, you will still be legally responsible for complying with the licence conditions and carrying out any works required by Improvement Notices. This could lead to confusion and possible legal action against you.

If a new licence application is not received from the new owners or landlord after the old licence has been revoked and it is still operating as an HMO then you could be at risk of serious consequences as detailed below:

  • Prosecution and an unlimited fine
  • Financial penalty notices of up to £30,000
  • Rent repayment orders where you must repay the tenants their rent
  • Interim management orders where the council takes over the HMO
  • Being deemed not fit and proper and refused a licence.

Unlicensed HMOs and Enforcement

To read a general guide to licensing produced for HMO landlords in the West Midlands, please see 'HMO Licensing Guide for Landlords [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/5174/hmos---information-for-landlords-and-tenants]'.

What happens if an HMO isn't licensed?

There may be a good reason for an HMO not to be licensed:

If none of the above applies then the HMO should be licensed. There are very serious consequences for not doing so, as detailed below.

Prosecution

The Council may prosecute the person(s) in control of the HMO i.e. the landlord or the agent. If found guilty, an unlimited fine may be imposed and the council will seek to recover costs of any legal action.

Civil penalties

The Council may decide to issue a Civil Penalty. A civil penalty is a financial penalty of up to £30,000 imposed by the Council on an individual or organisation as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences under the Housing Act 2004, and a breach of a banning order under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

Rent repayment order

The Council may seek to recover any housing benefit paid for the period that the HMO remained unlicensed for up to a period of 12 months. Similarly, tenants may seek to recover rent paid for the same period where the landlord has been found guilty for operating a HMO without a licence.

Management order

If it does not appear to the Council that the HMO is likely to be licensed in the near future or that health and safety is an issue, the Council may apply for an interim management order that may be followed by a management order. This means that the Council will take control of the HMO and manage it. Please see our current list of  Management Orders and Interim Management Orders [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/7413/imo-register]

Revoking or refusing licences

If the Council has evidence to show that you have contravened housing law then it may decide to revoke your licence, or refuse to grant you a licence on the basis that you are not a fit and proper person.

Furthermore, if you are a licence holder or a manager of other HMOs then these licences could also be revoked. For the HMO to continue to operate you would have to make alternative arrangements for someone else to hold the licence and/or manage the HMO. There are restrictions on who this other person can be, and they would have to accept responsibility for complying with the conditions of licence.

Reporting an Unlicensed HMO

If you believe that a property is in active use as an HMO and that the landlord has not applied for a licence, you can use our online reporting form [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/] to make us aware of this property. You need to register on the Online Portal [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/]. If you are already registered (since September 2022), you can just log in. Then go to Service Requests section select Reporting Unlicensed HMOs option. You will be required to provide some basic information in order for us to investigate. Please note that a property has to be in use as an HMO - ie, it must have three or more tenants living in it - for us to require a licence application from the landlord.  If you believe that a property is being converted into an HMO and you do not want it to be, we are not able to take any action.

If you are experiencing anti-social behaviour or noise nuisance from any property, please contact our Anti-social behaviour team [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/asb].

Housing Enforcement action

Where action has been taken by our Enforcement Team we regularly publish Prosecutions, financial penalties and rent repayment orders [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/housing-enforcement/hmo-enforcement-action]. We also publish our Housing Enforcement Action Data [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/housing-enforcement/hmo-enforcement-action/2].

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Reporting disrepair in HMOs

Making a complaint about a HMO

All houses in multiple occupation should be safe and well managed. When something goes wrong, the first person you should contact is the landlord or agent responsible for maintenance. If they do not fix the issues, you should contact us. The Council is responsible for investigating poor housing conditions and will do its utmost to ensure that Landlords fulfil their legal obligations. Licence holders of HMOs have certain duties and they are required to comply with licence conditions. Tell us if you have any concerns about the HMO, including:

  • Issues affecting the health, safety or welfare of tenants, such as no working fire alarms
  • Disrepair, waste accumulations or overgrown gardens
  • If you suspect a property is overcrowded (have more people living there than a maximum number of people specified on the licence).

To submit a disrepair or overcrowding complaint, you need to register on the Online Portal [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/]. If you are already registered (since September 2022), you can just log in. Then go to Service Requests section and select the HMO Complaint option. You will be required to provide some basic information in order for us to investigate.

Where a complaint regarding poor condition in the HMO is received, the case officer may contact the tenant(s) and ask them to provide photographic or video evidence to enable the Council to assess the risk. If however all necessary information has been provided, the officer will inspect the property and contact the licence holder or property manager directly.

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Public registers

Licensed HMOs

You can view a public register of licensed HMOs [/downloads/file/27663/hmos_coventry_08082018] (Applications pre 26 September 2022) and applications 26 September 2022 onwards [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/registers/index.html?fa=licence_register]. We aim to update this register on or shortly after the first working day of each month.

For information on which data we publish on the public register, and why we have to publish it, please see the Regulatory Services privacy notice [/info/12/business_and_licensing/3249/regulatory_services_privacy_notice/1]. Please note that under GDPR, individuals have to specifically opt in to receive marketing correspondence. The publishing of licence holders' addresses on the public register does not constitute consent of the licence holders to be contacted for marketing purposes.  Where we have added Schedule 2 conditions to a licence, we now indicate this on the register by use of codes; a list of these codes and their meanings can be found in our advice library. [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/5174/hmos_-_information_for_landlords_and_tenants]

You can also view a list of properties for which a licence application has been received, but the licence not yet issued [/downloads/download/5211/open_hmo_applications]. Provided that the application received is complete, it is lawful for such a property to operate as a licensable HMO. Please note that we are not able to provide any landlord information for these properties, as this information does not pass into the public domain until the licence has been issued. Please note too that we have received a substantial number of applications in the wake of the legislative changes which are still being worked through, and as such some properties which meet the new licensability criteria may not yet appear on this document

The information provided on these registers sets out the number of HMOs which are currently licensed by the Council and does not provide the total number of HMOs in the city.

This information should not be relied upon for deciding whether a property is an HMO or not. If you wish to find out if a property is an HMO then you should carry out additional enquiries [/info/112/property_searches/225/land_charges].

Temporary Exemption Notices

You can view a list of properties that are subject to a Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN) when such notices are in effect. You can view this on our licence register. These properties are exempt from the need to be licensed while the notice is in effect.  For more information, please see Section 62 [https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/62] of the Housing Act 2004.

For information on which data we publish on the public register, and why we have to publish it, please see the Regulatory Services privacy notice [/info/12/business_and_licensing/3249/regulatory_services_privacy_notice/1]. Please note that under GDPR, individuals have to specifically opt-in to receive marketing correspondence. The publishing of licence holders' addresses on the public register does not constitute consent of the licence holders to be contacted for marketing purposes.

This page was last updated on 22 September 2023.

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Additional licensing

On 4 May 2020 an Additional Licensing Designation [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/file/31783/signed_designation] came into effect across the city, requiring all HMOs currently not subject to mandatory licensing to be licensed (for example HMOs with fewer than five persons, HMOs with no shared amenities, flats in multiple occupation situated in purpose built blocks).

Additional Licensing will operate in the same way and alongside the existing Mandatory Licensing scheme. The same process will be followed, with the same fees, legal obligations and penalties for failing to comply with the requirements.

You will need an additional HMO licence if:

  • if you operate a house in multiple occupation that is shared by three to four tenants living in two or more households, or
  • if you operate a property which was converted into self-contained flats where:
    • less than two thirds of the flats are owner-occupied, and
    • the conversion did not comply with the relevant Building Regulations in force at that time and still does not comply
  • if you operate any other HMO that is not currently subject to Mandatory Licencing.

The legislation which covers houses converted solely into self-contained flats ('Section 257 HMOs) can be found under Section 257 of the Housing Act 2004 [http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/257].

Larger Developments for Student Accommodation NOT Managed and Controlled by Educational Establishments

Student accommodation run by private providers where students live in “cluster” flats are classed as HMOs under the Housing Act 2004 (the Act) and as the accommodation is operated by a private provider, the properties are not exempt under Schedule 14 of the Act.

The definition of an HMO can be found in Section 254 of the Act but in essence it is any building, or part of a building that is occupied by three or more people, in two or more households, sharing one basic amenity i.e. a kitchen, bathroom or WC.

The Schedule 14 exemption applies where the accommodation is:

  • Managed and controlled by the university establishment; and
  • The university is signed up to a code of practice; and
  • The accommodation is listed on the university establishment “building list”; and
  • The occupiers are attending a full-time course at the university establishment that manages the accommodation.

All of the above criteria must apply. If a private provider is signed up the National Code for Standards for Larger Developments for student accommodation not managed or controlled by Educational Establishments, then this does not give the exemption under Schedule 14 because:

  • The provider is managing and controlling the accommodation, not the university;
  • The accommodation is not on the university “building list”
  • The occupiers are not in a building managed by their university.

While each “cluster flat” falls outside the national mandatory HMO licensing requirement, as Coventry City Council has an additional licensing scheme that requires all HMOs in the City to be licensed, this means that each cluster flat in larger student accommodation blocks is required to have an HMO licence.

The Council recognises that where the provider is signed up to the National Code then the accommodation should meet certain standards and is audited independently by the Code. Therefore, the provider is eligible to apply for a five-year HMO licence (this may be issued on the first application).

If the provider is not signed up to the code, then the length of licence issued will be assessed against the current criteria [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/licensing-regulation/hmo-licensing/9].

To submit an application for Additional Licence, please proceed to licensing process [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/8] tab.

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]

Your questions answered

This page was last updated: 02 October 2023

What's the best way to keep up to date with information about private rented properties in Coventry?

You can sign up to our Landlord Forum mailing list [https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKCOVENTRY/subscriber/new?topic_id=UKCOVENTRY_89] to receive news and updates relevant to Coventry landlords.

HMO Licence issues

What is an HMO?

“HMO” stands for “House in Multiple Occupation.” It is defined as being a house where two or more unrelated households share amenities. It includes what people call bedsits.

The property is an HMO if it is tenanted by 3 or more unrelated persons forming two or more households and sharing basic amenities. Note that a group of friends is not regarded as a household, as they are not related; basic amenities are defined as a toilet, personal washing facilities or cooking facilities.

Do all HMOs need a licence?

Yes. In Coventry, Additional licensing of HMOs has been introduced so currently all HMOs need a licence. If they comprise three or more people or are flats provided without Building Regulations these are included in Additional licensing. An HMO with five or more people would need a Mandatory licence.

If you would like an officer to inspect your property to determine whether it is licensable and whether any works are required to bring it up to HMO standard, you can pay for a pre-licensing advice visit [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/6#PLA].

Is this the case across the UK?

In England and Wales, all HMOs that comprise five or more people require a licence. For local schemes, check with the relevant local authority about whether there are any discretionary licensing schemes in place.

What if my HMO doesn’t take up the whole building?

The HMO regulations look at the whole building, not just the portion being used as a domestic property. So if, for example, your HMO is a duplex flat above a food business, it would require a licence if there were three or more people living there.

How do I apply for an HMO Licence?

You’ve come to the right place! Please see the Licensing Process [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/8] page to access the on-line application form.

How much does it cost?

Please see the Fees and Charges [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/7] page for full details of our fees and charges. The Stage 1 fee, which is payable upon submission of your application, is £640. The Stage 2 fee, which is payable when we issue the draft licence, is variable depending upon the length of your licence [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/9].

We can only charge what it costs us to process the licensing application and run/ enforce the scheme; we do not make any profit from it.

How long does the application process take?

That depends on how many people are ahead of you in the queue, and how complete your application is. We will always process complete applications as quickly as possible.

One question that is frequently skipped is information about the house’s mortgage provider. If you have a mortgage on your house, we need to write to your mortgage provider as part of the application process, so it’s important that you provide their address. Please ensure your application is accurate and complete for any queries please email hmo@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:hmo@coventry.gov.uk].

Once we have all the necessary information, have performed all the mandated checks, and the fee has been paid, we will issue a Draft Licence to you and to anyone else with a legal involvement in the property. You will then have twenty-one days to let us know if you have any objections to the terms of the Draft. If we receive no objections, we will then issue the Full Licence.

How long does an HMO licence last?

We have three different licence lengths available. a 1 year licence, 2 year licence and 5 year licence. Please see the Length of Licence [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/9] page for more details and the eligibility criteria.

Are HMO licences transferable?

No. If you buy a house which has a current HMO licence, that licence will cease to be valid once you take ownership, so you will need to submit a new application as soon as possible. If an HMO application is still in progress but the property has been sold, then you should email hmo@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:hmo@coventry.gov.uk] and inform us so that we can withdraw the HMO application.

Are HMO licences refundable?

Under most circumstances, no. We realise that if you sell your house one year after your licence is granted, you’ve only benefitted from it for twenty per cent of its duration, but we’ve done a hundred per cent of the work processing your application and issuing the licence and the licence fee covers the cost of that work.

Do I need Planning Permission to operate an HMO?

On 30th September 2023 an Article 4 direction was implemented across certain wards in Coventry. This direction removed the permitted development right to change the use of a C3 property (“dwellinghouse”) to a C4 property (“house in multiple occupation”) within the following wards: Cheylesmore, Earlsdon, Foleshill, Lower Stoke, Radford, St. Michael's, Sherbourne, Wainbody, Whoberley, Westwood and Upper Stoke.

Any person wishing to convert a residential house into an HMO within the affected wards will first need to make a change of use planning application [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/planning-2/making-planning-application], even if the HMO will have fewer than seven tenants. Properties that were already in lawful use as HMOs with fewer than seven tenants before the direction came into effect will not need to make a planning application.  However, if such a property ceases to be used as an HMO (for example, if it is rented to a single family) then a change of use planning application will need to be made to bring the property back into use as an HMO.

If the HMO will have seven or more lets or add a seventh or greater let to an existing HMO, you will need to apply for planning permission. HMOs occupied by seven or more people is known as Sui Generis and have always needed planning permission when changing from C3. You will also need planning permission if you’re moving from C4 to Sui Generis. The rules on seven-person Sui Generis Use Class apply city-wide. If you have any doubts about whether planning permission is needed or not, please contact our planning team at planning@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:planning@coventry.gov.uk] or consult the Planning Portal [http://www.planningportal.co.uk] website.

Are there any Article 4 restrictions in Coventry?

On 6 September 2022, the Council voted to consult on an Article 4 designation to remove the permitted development right to change the use of a C3 property (“dwellinghouse”) to a C4 property (“house in multiple occupation”) within certain wards of the city. The Wards are: Cheylesmore, Earlsdon, Foleshill, Lower Stoke, Radford, St. Michael's, Sherbourne, Wainbody, Whoberley, Westwood and Upper Stoke.

This designation was approved and came into effect on 30 September 2023. Any person wishing to convert a residential house into an HMO within the affected wards will first need to make a change of use planning application [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/planning-2/making-planning-application], even if the HMO will have fewer than seven tenants. Properties that are already in lawful use as HMOs with fewer than seven tenants will not need to make a planning application, though the landlord may wish to consider applying for a Lawful Development Certificate [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/planning-2/making-planning-application/3].

Why do I need a licence and planning permission to run an HMO?

HMO licences and planning permission are governed by two entirely separate pieces of legislation, each of which considers criteria.

Put simply, licensing legislation is primarily concerned with the safety of the people living in the house – the licensing process establishes that the house has sufficient amenities for the tenants living there, has acceptable standards of fire safety, and that the landlord is a fit and proper person.  Planning legislation meanwhile is primarily concerned with the suitability of the use in principal and the impact the use may have on surrounding residents, roads and environment.

The two areas of legislation each have very specific and detailed requirements, which is why members of the Housing Enforcement and Property Licensing Team cannot give advice about Planning legislation, and vice versa. 

What do you mean by “Manager”?

A manager is a person or company, such as a letting agent, who manages the day to day running of your HMO. They may undertake any or all of the following duties: dealing with contracts, collecting rent, being the first point of contact for repairs, or otherwise administering the house and dealing with tenants. If you employ a manager, it is important that you include their details in the application paperwork.

Note that if you employ a manager, it is still your legal responsibility to ensure that the house is operated correctly and lawfully.

Do I have to employ a manager?

No, you can perform these duties yourself. However, if the Council determines that you will struggle to perform these duties in a timely manner (for example, if you live overseas and may not be able to come to the house quickly in the event of an emergency) we may make it a condition that you employ a local manager.

Can you recommend a manager/letting agent?

Coventry City Council is not able recommend third party businesses. However, you can view agencies that have been accredited by us on the CLAS [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3344/landlord_accreditation/7]webpages.

Do I need to notify you if there are any changes to the property?

You should notify us if you move house, change manager, if your manager changes address, or if you change mortgage provider. You should also notify us if you wish to change the maximum number of tenants and/or households in your HMO, or otherwise alter the amenities, as we may need to issue a Licence Variation [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/10].

Is there any charge for a Licence Variation or a Temporary Exemption Notice?

No. You may vary the details on a licence for without charge. You may also apply to exempt your property from licensing for 3 months without charge. You can apply for a TEN using the online application form [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/index.html].

What are the consequences of operating a licensable HMO without a licence?

You could face an unlimited fine, be prohibited from operating rented properties in Coventry, and be placed on a nationwide database of rogue landlords.

Do you operate a Landlord Accreditation Scheme?

Yes. the Coventry Landlord Accreditation Scheme (CLAS) [http://www.coventry.gov.uk/clas] is a free, voluntary scheme that private residential Landlords and Letting Agents are encouraged to join.

Do you have a list of HMOs in Coventry?

We have public registers [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/13] of licensed HMOs and pending licence applications.

The HMO licence register includes landlords' details - is this not a breach of GDPR?

No. Article 6(1)(c) [https://gdpr-info.eu/art-6-gdpr/] of the GDPR states that the processing of personal data is lawful if doing so “is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject”. Article 4(2) [https://gdpr-info.eu/art-4-gdpr/] defines “processing” to include “disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available”. The requirement to maintain a public register of HMO licences is set out in Section 232 [https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/232] of the Housing Act 2004, and the prescribed information to be provided on the public register is detailed in Regulation 11 [https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/373/contents/made] of the Licensing and Management Regulations. Therefore, the publication of landlords’ details on our public register does not constitute a breach of the GDPR, as Coventry City Council is under a legal obligation to provide these data.

HMO Property condition requirements:

What standards does the HMO need to meet?

We have two documents that go into the necessary standards in depth: Homestamp, which details fire safety standards, and our Room Size and Amenity Provision Standards. Both documents are available in our advice library [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/5174/hmos_-_information_for_landlords_and_tenants].

I’m in the process of setting up an HMO – can an officer come round to check that I’m doing everything right?

We are not able to offer any general advice on HMO legislation beyond that contained on this website. If you are considering converting a property into an HMO, and you would like us to visit your property to advise you on the HMO licensing requirements before you apply, you can request a pre-licensing inspection [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/6]. There is a charge for this service. Please note that we are not able to physically inspect properties during the coronavirus lockdown.

Do I need to display the licence in the house?

Yes, the front page of the licence needs to be displayed clearly in a suitable communal area alongside other management information. The other pages of the licence (Schedules 1 & 2) do not need to be displayed, but they must be easily available to tenants. For example, you could give a copy to each tenant with their tenancy agreement or keep a copy in a “useful documents” folder in a communal area.

Where can I get further information on HMOs?

The Government’s web pages [https://www.gov.uk/house-in-multiple-occupation-licence] contain a wide range of useful information.

If you have specific questions about fire safety, you can contact the fire service at firesafety.admin@wmfs.net [mailto:firesafety.admin@wmfs.net]

If you have any general HMO questions that have not already been answered by this document, you can e-mail hmo@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:hmo@coventry.gov.uk] or phone 024 7697 5467 during office hours. If you have a technical question about fire safety or amenity provision, please check to see whether it is answered in the Homestamp or Room Size and Amenity Provision Standards [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/5174/hmos_-_information_for_landlords_and_tenants] documents first.

Is a fire risk assessment compulsory? Who can conduct it?

Yes - for a licensable HMO it is a legal requirement to have a Fire Risk Assessment. A competent person can conduct the fire risk assessment and it must be reviewed on an annual basis. More information can be found on our Fire Risk Assessment [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/5] page.

What legal requirement must be met for non-mandatory licensable HMOs?

Please note that currently, all HMOs in Coventry are licensable.

All HMOs, regardless of licensability, are subject to:

What information needs to be displayed on an HMO noticeboard?

You need to display the following information on an HMO noticeboard:

  • Licence (if you have one to display)
  • Manager's details
  • Fire notice (what to do in the event of a fire)
  • Waste notice

Do I have to display my details in the HMO?

The management details are required to be displayed within an obvious part of the HMO. On the HMO noticeboard is a good place.

Is emergency lighting compulsory in all licensable HMOs?

Emergency lighting is normally required for the larger higher risk HMOs, typically where they comprise three or more storeys. It could also be required where there are 6 or more occupants in a three storey HMO and in other HMOs where appropriate – it is dependent upon the risk and whether the layout of the building is such that the escape route is complicated or does not have sufficient borrowed light.

Are hardwired smoke detectors with battery back-up compulsory in all HMOs?

Yes – mains wired interlinked detectors are a legal requirement for all HMOs. Battery smoke detectors are not suitable.

Is an electrical certificate mandatory for all HMOs?

Yes – five yearly periodic testing of the electrical system is a legal requirement for HMOs. From July 2020, a five-yearly electrical safety certificate will be required for all privately rented properties, regardless of HMO status.

Who is responsible for cleaning the HMO and maintaining the gardens?

You are responsible, you can do this through an agreement with the tenants. However, if the property is not cleaned or the garden not-maintained, you will need to take steps to remedy the situation.

How long are supporting certificates for HMO applications valid?

  • Gas Safety certificate (valid for 12 months).
  • Electrical Installation and Condition Report (valid for a period of up to five years unless any shorter period was specified by the person who carried out the check). Please note that where an electrical safety report requires the landlord to undertake further investigative or remedial work (C1 or C2), the landlord must ensure that this work is carried out by a qualified person within 28 days or the period specified in the report if less than 28 days. A written confirmation for completion of the remedial work must be provided to each tenant and to the authority via email: housingenforcement@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:housingenforcement@coventry.gov.uk]
  • Fire Alarm Test certificate (valid for a period of up to 12 months unless any shorter period was specified by the person who carried out the check). We do accept a self-certification form [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/5] for Grade D fire alarm systems.
  • Emergency Lighting Test certificate – if two or less storeys – this is not compulsory. However, if emergency lighting is fitted, then the certificate must be provided (valid for a period of up to 12 months unless any shorter period was specified by the person who carried out the check). We do accept a self-certification form [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/280/housing_enforcement/3348/hmo_licensing/5] for emergency lighting.
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – minimum energy rating must be E or above (valid for 10 years).
  • PAT certificate for any electrical equipment supplied to the tenants that is more than one year old (valid for 12 months).

I would like a status update regarding my HMO application:

We have noted that we receive a substantial number of requests for an update regarding HMO applications status. If you are looking for a quick update on your HMO application you can log into our HMO Licence register [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/registers/index.html?fa=licence_register]. You can manually search for your property. Once you have found your property if you select ‘Details’ on the right-hand side. You can view what stage of the licensing process your application is currently in. We are updating this section regularly so if you spot any issues with your property information, please let us know by emailing HMO@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:HMO@coventry.gov.uk].

Please see the below for more details regarding the licensing status meanings:

  • Application Under Review – We have received an application, but it has not yet been allocated to a Property Licensing Assistant (PLA) to validate.
  • Application Incomplete (Chasing) – A PLA has reviewed the application and determined that there is outstanding information or certificates.
  • Application Complete (Valid) – A PLA has reviewed the application and determined it is complete and valid. This property is now awaiting an inspection from one of our officers.
  • Inspected – Pending for Draft – The property has been inspected by one of our officers and we are waiting for this to be allocated back to a PLA.
  • Draft Issued (Pending Reps) – A PLA has sent the Intention to Grant a Licence paperwork.
  • Licence Granted Stage 2 Fee Outstanding – The licence has been granted. However, the stage 2 fee has not yet been paid and the licence is at risk of being revoked if it is not paid.
  • Issued Granted – The licence has been granted.

If you search on our online register and do not find your application, this may be due to it being an application received before 26 September 2022. If you want an update on an application received before this date, you may need to email our HMO inbox and ask for an update.

Issues making an application or registering on our new system:

I cannot find my address when registering to make an account or fill in the application form?

You need to select ‘Can’t find your address and need to add it manually?’. This will enable you to input your address.

When I try to sign in, the system does not recognise my account even though I already have an account?

You may have been registered on our old system. As we have changed to a new system you will be required to register a new account. This can be done by selecting ‘Register here’ in the top right corner of the webpage. Then you can create an account.

I am not sure what type of application I need to make?

When you are on our application webpage [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/licences/apply.html]. There are two options to identify the type of application you need to make. If you are unsure on the application type, you can click on our application triage (on the left hand side of the webpage) and answer some questions which will help you determine your licence type. Or if you already know the type you can select it from the options on the right.

I have received a message from the Property Licensing Team that I have not paid the Stage 1 Fee. How do I make this payment?

Please log in to our Online Portal (https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/licences/index.html [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/licences/index.html]), select Licensing / Licensing Home Page. On top of the page, you will find all recently submitted applications, with outstanding payments (Online Licences Invoices section). Please use "Pay" button to make the payment.

Alternatively, you can pay via our website: https://www.coventry.gov.uk/payonline [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/payonline], Select “Other Payments / Business and Licensing / Mandatory or Additional HMO Licence”.

If you cannot pay online, you can pay over the telephone with a credit or debit card by calling 02476 975 467.

I have accidentally added the wrong address or I would like to change my address when registering my profile. Can I change this address?

You can change this address at any point. You just need to select ‘edit profile’ in the top right corner after you have logged in [https://planandregulatory.coventry.gov.uk/index.html]. Then select edit profile. From here you can edit your address, email and contact number.

HMO and Article 4 Questions:

How does this affect HMO licensing?

When we receive an application for a licence, if there is no evidence that the accommodation was used as C4 before 30 September 2023, we may grant you a one-year licence. This period is to allow for you to put the planning affairs of your property in order by applying for (and being granted) planning permission for a change of use to C4.

If you are refused permission, or you are unsuccessful at any appeals to the Planning Inspectorate, then you must wind-down the business. This is done by commencing eviction proceedings on the occupants to reduce the numbers to a maximum of two or replace them with a single household family.

If you apply for a HMO licence again when you’ve been refused planning permission, we’ll refuse to grant a licence as the property is not suitable for use as an HMO.

How can I prove to HMO licensing the property has been occupied as an HMO?

If the property has not been licensed before 30 September 2023, you may consider providing with your HMO licence application a Lawful Development Certificate.

What if I have a C4 or Sui Generis HMO with a licence and a family move in?

You will have moved from C4/Sui Generis to C3 and lost your C4/Sui Generis planning use class. To move back to C4/Sui Generis, you must re-apply for planning permission.

My HMO property is not in the 11 wards

If your property is situated in Woodlands, Bablake, Holbrooks, Longford, Henley, Wyken or Binley & Willenhall, then you may change from C3 to C4 without restriction. However, you will need planning permission to change to Sui Generis (seven or more person HMO).

I want to report a HMO without planning permission

Please email planningenforcement@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:planningenforcement@coventry.gov.uk] 

I have more questions about Article 4

For further help & advice, please contact the Planning Policy team [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/planning-policy].

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

Telephone: 024 7697 5467 [tel:02476975467]