Failure to comply with the Management regulations or operating an unlicensed HMO can have serious financial consequences.

Management of HMO Regulations 2006

Under The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and it’s Wales counterpart, there are a number of duties including the duty to display contact information, five yearly electrical inspections and other safety duties. See this article for the full duties under the Management regulations.

Any failure to comply with a duty is a criminal offence and liable to a £5,000 fine per individual duty. This is set to increase to an unlimited fine [1].


If a landlord operates an unlicensed HMO which should have had a license, this is a criminal offence and a fine up to £20,000 is payable. This is set to become an unlimited fine [2].

A breach of any conditions of the licence is £5,000 per individual condition but is set to become an unlimited fine [3].

No section 21 notice may be given in relation to a tenancy of an unlicensed HMO. An application for a HMO license is sufficient to allow the service of a notice.

In fairly extreme circumstances, it’s possible for a local authority to apply for up to 12 months of housing benefit which has been received by the landlord to be repaid to the local authority.

  1. Section 234 Housing Act 2004 provides for each failure to comply is a fine of up to £5,000 per duty. Section 85 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, provides for all fines £5,000 or greater are to increase to become unlimited fines but the commencement date has not yet been announced.  ↩
  2. Section 72 Housing Act 2004 provides the fine for operating an unlicensed HMO as up to £20,000 but see the footnote above where all fines £5k or above are to be converted to unlimited fines.  ↩
  3. See the first footnote where all fines £5k or above are to be converted to unlimited fines.  ↩