Confused with the HMO legislation?
Confused with the HMO legislation - we can help your HMO application/renewal or planning application.
From the 1st April 2019, the licensing laws for HMO properties changed, and the Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 came into operation.
This means that the local councils, across NI, took over the responsibility for licensing HMO properties, from the NI Housing Executive. All HMO's must be licensed by their local council, and the council will only grant a licence if it satisfied that granting the licence is not a breach of planning control.
Renewal of HMO licence
The HMO Act (NI) 2016 states that the holder of an HMO licence, must make an application to renew a licence before the licence ceases to have effect. NI HMO Unit has advised that it is likely, an application will be unsuccessful, if the property does not comply with planning control.
Buying or selling an HMO
If selling an HMO property, the licence held on the property does not transfer with the property, to the new owner. The licence ceases to have effect on the date the property is transferred. Before the date the property is transferred, the proposed new owner, must apply for a new licence in respect of the HMO. The council will only grant a licence if it is satisfied that granting the licence is not a breach of planning control.
The Planning (Use Classes) Order (NI) 2004 includes HMO as a sui generis use. This means that properties operating as an HMO may require planning permission. All new HMOs must also have planning permission, and an application for a new licence will not be processed if the property does no have planning permission to be an HMO. The licence holder can apply for a Certificate of Lawful Use or Development, if they can prove to the council that the property has been rented continuously as an HMO, for a minimum of 5 years. The other option is to apply for a Change of Use, from a residential dwelling, to an HMO. This most likely will be refused, based on the over saturation of HMO properties in the designated areas in Belfast.