A decision was made at the Executive meeting of Woking Borough Council, on the 6th October 2022, not to continue with or implement a new selective licence scheme after this date.
Your next steps will depend on the number of occupants and households that can live in your property.
Single Household Properties
After 31 March 2023 if you let your property to a single household (tenants all from the same family) then you will not require a licence after this date. It is your responsibility to ensure that the property is, and continues to be, occupied by people from the same family. If another household joins them, you may unwittingly be creating a House in Multiple Occupation for which there are additional requirements and responsibilities. It is also your responsibility to ensure that the property does not become overcrowded. All properties are required to ensure certain facilities and safety features are present. Woking Borough Council's Private Sector Property - Amenity Standards document provides a clear guide to these requirements, and a table of the number of people permitted to sleep in each bedroom, depending on the size of the room.
Multiple Household Properties with 4 or fewer occupants
If your property is let to more than one household (tenants not from the same family), but the number of occupants is fewer than 5, and the occupants share facilities such as toilet, bathroom and / or kitchen, then the property is classed as a House in Multiple Occupation but does not require a licence.
However, there are additional regulations relating to managing a property of this type which you must adhere: The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. There are also important safety and amenity provisions which must be provided in the property. These can be found in the new Private Sector Property - Amenity Standards document which can be found on Woking Borough Council's website. It is your responsibility to ensure that the occupancy does not go above 4. If it does, you will need to apply for a Mandatory HMO Licence.
Multiple Household Properties with 5 or more occupants
If you have 2 or more households (tenants not from the same family) and 5 or more occupants in total, and they share facilities such as toilet, bathroom or kitchen then your property is classed as a House in Multiple Occupation. You will require a mandatory HMO licence as per The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006. You will also need to adhere to The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. Your property will be visited at least every 3 years to ensure that the standards of the property are in line with Woking Borough Council's Private Sector Property - Amenity Standards document. It is important that you refer to this to ensure your property is compliant.
Note that HMO properties with 7 or more occupants also require Planning Permission for a Sui Generis class of use.
Private Sector Property - Amenity Standards Guide
The updated Private Sector Property - Amenity Standards Guide, which were adopted at the Executive meeting of Woking Borough Council on 6 October 2022 is now on their website for your reference. This document provides comprehensive information on the requirements for all rental properties in Woking Borough and will enable a consistent approach with regards to standards across the Borough. The requirements for HMO properties are clearly set out to enable you to check that your property is suitable, or for you to make required alterations should they be required.
For more information, landlords should contact WBC's Housing Standards team on 01483 755855 or email email@example.com
Source: Woking Borough Council