The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 (‘the Prescribed Description Order 2018’) extends the scope of section 55(2)(a) of the Housing Act 2004. From 1st October 2018 mandatory HMO licensing will apply to buildings of ANY storey height, not just those of three or more storeys. The Order can be found on the Government legislation website.
The Prescribed Description Order 2018 does not change the occupation requirement. For mandatory licensing to apply, the HMO (or Flat in Multiple Occupation) must be occupied by five or more persons, from two or more separate households.
The Housing Act 2004 provides detailed definition of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and sets out standards of management for this type of property, but in simple terms a building or part of a building is classed as an HMO if it is occupied by persons forming 2 or more households . Licensing is mandatory for all HMOs which are occupied by 5 or more persons forming 2 or more households.
A landlord will not be able to gain possession of their property using section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 where an HMO is licensable and no licence has been issued or temporary exemption notice granted.