Landlord licensing different across the UK

We blog extensively about the ever-changing world of buy to let finance but perhaps every so often we should consider other factors in the life of a landlord in the private rented sector (PRS). In this blog, I’ve provided an overview of the latest landlord licensing requirements in the four countries that make up the UK.


At the moment there is no compulsory licensing scheme for all private landlords; licensing is determined by the local authority. Some authorities require all private landlords to be registered, so do check.

Last autumn (2016), the Government ran a consultation on extending the mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMO). Specifically, it planned to make licensing obligatory in England on:

• All houses with five or more people from two or more households regardless of the number of storeys.

• Flats above business premises

Further, the consultation proposed to:

• Set a minimum room size of 6.52sqm for one person and 10.23 sqm for two.
• Require all licence-holders (or the HMO manager) to provide a standard disclosure certificate of their criminal status.

• Require that the licence-holder provides adequate waste storage containers

The consultation closed in December but as yet there has been no word on the outcome. The website just says:

We are analysing your feedback. Visit this page soon to download the outcome to this public feedback.

Of course, we’ll update you as soon as there is any news.

Northern Ireland
All private landlords must register with the Landlord Registration Scheme. A Landlord Registration certificate costs £70 and is valid for three years, after which time it must be renewed.

All landlords operating in Wales must register with Rent Smart Wales. Licences are valid for five years and cost £144 if you apply online or £186 if you make a paper application.

All private landlords operating in Scotland must register with Landlord Registration. Registrations are valid for three years and there is a principal fee of £55 for each local authority, although a variety of discounts apply. Landlords who rent out property to three or more unrelated persons also need an HMO licence.

Next time I’ll talk about energy efficiency for rented homes but in the meantime, it’s back to the day job for me which means that if you have any property finance requirements, do get in touch on my direct line: 01732 471607.


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