Back in late 2016, three people rent a brand new flat in London (UK). Then, during the years, we had a few contract renewals (AST) with new names (as we had one person being replaced every year).

This September, before our AST expired, one person got replaced and this time the agency didn't send us to sign an AST renewal. They sent the deposit money back to the leaving tenant (although it was a joint tenancy), they got the deposit money from the new tenant and then sent us to sign a tenancy renewal. No notice period is mentioned in the paper.

Some days ago, the agency came back informing us that the agent got fired and that our house owner didn't have an HMO. The agency told us that means that we have to decide whether we want to keep the house with a decreased rent for 2 people only in a new contract or just a give a notice of 2 months.

Latest Update from the agency

They are asking us to renew the contract with an increased rent (200 pounds more).

The fact that the house is a brand new house and that fact that they don't have an HMO now, means that they have never gotten an HMO. My questions are:

1) Are we covered regarding the (at least) 2 month notice period. Note that the AST had the name of the tenant who left. We have never signed an AST with the three names of the current tenants. We have only signed a tenancy renewal.

2) Are we entitled to a compensation for paying a rent although the agent didn't have an HMO licence. The agent have never mentioned that the HMO was missing. We have saved all the past emails.

PS: Our names are signed in the council borough.

*HMO is the Houses In Multiple Occupation and it is required in our case - according to the agent - as we are three unrelated tenants.


1 Answer 1


You are correct that the landlord can't evict you with less than two months notice. However note that you might want to avoid enforcing that because a good reference from your existing landlord is likely to be very helpful when looking for other property.

According to this page on the government website:

You may be able to apply to a tribunal to reclaim some of your rent if your landlord has been prosecuted by the council for running an unlicensed HMO.

Note that only applies if the council actually prosecute.

You said

The fact that the house is a brand new house and that fact that they don't have an HMO now, means that they have never gotten an HMO.

Firstly, what you live in is the HMO (House in Multiple Occupation). What you are referring to is an HMO licence.

More to the point, it is true that they almost certainly never had an HMO licence, but they may not have needed one. An HMO licence is always required if the HMO is a larger HMO (five or more people). Whether it is required for an HMO with three or four people is up to the local council - and the council may well have recently changed the rules.

If this is the case, they are exceedingly unlikely to prosecute if the landlord is trying to put things right (even if it is by reducing to only two people).

  • That sounds unfair though. First the landlord/agency can ignore the law and not obtain an HMO license and then they skip away without prosecution if they are just try to apply for an HMO? Council has confirmed that they haven't gotten one in this case but they made an application recently. Dec 10, 2019 at 16:39

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