If a house is let as an HMO and the HMO requires a licence but does not have one, a section 21 notice may not be served on any of the occupiers of the HMO as a penalty (amongst other penalties).

Here we discuss what actions need to be taken by a landlord in order to be able to serve a section 21 notice. We only deal with mandatory licensing for the moment (three storeys AND five or more occupiers) but the principle is almost identical for additional licensing and

Requirement for mandatory licence

Section 61 Housing Act 2004 provides the requirement that an HMO licence is required if it meets the The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Descriptions) (England) Order 2006 (at the time of writing – 3 storeys and 5 or more occupiers).

However, section 61 contains an exclusion where a temporary exemption notice is in force.

61 Requirement for HMOs to be licensed

(1)Every HMO to which this Part applies must be licensed under this Part unless—
(a) a temporary exemption notice is in force in relation to it under section 62, or


Application for a licence

If a landlord is operating an unlicensed HMO a licence should be applied for in order to then serve a section 21 notice. Certain regulations are in force which allow a section 21 notice to be served during this application process (see below). This will be the most common action of a landlord wishing to serve a section 21 on an unlicensed HMO but it may be that a landlord wishes to apply for a temporary exemption notice instead.

Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN)

A temporary exemption notice (TEN ) is where a landlord intends to take particular steps with a view to securing that the house is no longer required to be licensed.

A TEN can be given by a local authority for 3 months after which, a landlord can apply again and in exceptional circumstances, the local authority can grant a further 3 months. No more applications can be made though.

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