As you may be aware, fairly recently a very large PBSA provider had a substantial rent repayment order made against them for having failed to license a property that was theirs. In the wake of that decision  it was decided to send around this email in order to remind National Code members of their obligations with respect to licensing and to recommend that they have some contact with all local authorities in the areas that they operate in.

 Clauses 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 of the Code for Non-Educational Establishments relate to HMO and other Local Authority licensing schemes and they read as follows:

 4.1 Members must be able to demonstrate that they have satisfied themselves whether or not any form of local authority property licensing applies to any developments that they are operating.

 4.2 Where HMO mandatory licensing applies (under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004); additional/selective licensing schemes are in operation in the area in which a building is located; or other legislation in respect of licensing applies, Members shall ensure that: • they have a current HMO licence or have made application for one; and • those properties meet or will comply with licence conditions within timescales specified on each licence.

 4.3 Where a third party is responsible for obtaining an HMO licence, Members must check whether this party has applied for and/or is in possession of a licence.

 National Code verifiers will regularly check compliance with all these clauses and make it clear in their reports should they believe a provider has not met with the requirements. Where the provider is uncertain as to their position with regards to one or more local authority’s licensing schemes, then verifiers will recommend that they make contact with the relevant department within the local authority to check on the status of the building with respect to any licensing requirements.

 It is further recommended that members of the Code for non-educational establishments seek out information from the local authorities in which they operate about licensing, both all existing schemes as any new ones. They should ask to be included on local landlord mailing lists and maybe even join a local landlord group, as that way they are more likely to be consulted on current and future operations of licensing schemes.