Lewisham sent me a 'House in Multiple Occupation Notice'


So out of the blue, Lewisham sent me an HMO Declaration notice where they stated that they are ‘satisfied’ that our house meets a standard test that it’s in ‘multiple occupation’ (section 254(2) of the 2004 housing act) with no justification whatsoever as to what satisfied them that this is the case.

I have 28 days to appeal to a ‘1st Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber’ or else the notice comes into force on 20th October with a long list of criminal offences listed regarding running an unlicensed HMO.

Lovely. Now it’s my problem to somehow figure a way out of this.

How do they even come to this conclusion?


I think speaking to a local councillor and/or the appropriate department at the council would be the first step.

My guess is that the council might look at the electoral register and council tax payments to find houses that are home to multiple unrelated individuals (three or more people who are not all related). If you are renting out rooms to two or more individuals then you may well need to register as an HMO.

Possibly a little bit helpful: https://www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/landlords-urged-comply-new-additional-licensing-scheme-lewisham-borough

Good luck!


Couple of questions.

  1. What type of house do you live in?
  2. If your house doesnt fit with an HMO could it be a case that it was wrongly addressed?


Thanks - I already cc’d Maja on the email in response :slight_smile:

Re council tax, it’s a single family detached home - we all have the same surname!


I am reminded of Hackney Council’s reaction to a grave error they made with my community charge (obvs many years ago).

Oh. We have made a big boo boo.


I called them - they’re going to ‘call me back’ when they figure out what’s going on. The lady did ask me if they’d specified an inspection date, which they haven’t… I’ll keep you posted


Ah, in that case I should imagine there will be a little running around at the council before you get a “sorry” letter.


If it’s occupied as a single family dwelling you should tell them not to waste your time; and that you will not be making yourself available for their inspector to waste Council Taxpayers’ money.


Yes, but they’re ‘satisfied’ it’s an HMO (how, I have no idea) and I doubt they’ll change their mind without an inspection. I agree it’s a ridiculous waste of everyone’s time.


It’s their problem if they’re barking up the wrong tree so I’d give them very little of my time. Anyway, here’s a guide which might help you.

If you let a property which is one of the following types it is an HMO:
• An entire house or flat which is let to 3 or more tenants who form 2 or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
• A house which has been converted entirely into bedsits or other non-self-contained accommodation and which is let to 3 or more tenants who form two or more households and who share kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities.
• A converted house which contains one or more flats which are not wholly self contained (ie the flat does not contain within it a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by 3 or more tenants who form two or more households.
• A building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats if the conversion did not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one-third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies.
• In order to be an HMO the property must be used as the tenants’ only or main residence and it should be used solely or mainly to house tenants. Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence and the same will apply to properties which are used as domestic refuges.


It’s a family home. They’re totally barking up the wrong tree. The question is how, or why, that’s what interests me.


30 years of dealing with local authority officer mentality has taught me not to try to understand what goes on in their minds.

To be fair, they are constantly battling with every type of skank and scammer so it’s probably no surprise that many of them have become slightly inhuman.

The bottom line here is that they’ve got their wires crossed - but that’s not your fault - so they just need to be told to leave you alone while they go away and check their records. I would tell them that you’d be happy to show them around for a fee of £100.


I would reply to their letter explaining that your house is not an HMO and that you are happy for them to inspect the property to confirm this. Best to get things in writing when dealing with bureaucrats.

It’s posible that someone else is using your address to fraudulently claim benefits or something similar.


@MajaHilton has kindly escalated it for me. I haven’t had a response from the Housing Team yet.

To be honest, I’m not exactly happy for them to inspect the property unless they want to tell me the reason why they think it needs an HMO license, and not just that they’ve decided it’s a fact.

If they contact me with a reason and suggest they’d like to inspect it then I’ll say yes, however threatening me with ‘criminal charges’ if I don’t buy a license would seem to be the last step, not the opening play.


I may be wrong but I suspect that if you tell them that you are not happy to have an inspection, it will just make them more suspicious and therefore more likely to want to. If you say they are welcome to send an inspector, they probably won’t bother.

I’m no expert on this sort of thing but the housing team are bound to be busy and are not going to waste their time chasing red-herrings.


I don’t mind them coming 'round, except someone has to take time off work them, so I want them to give me a reason why they need to come.


Sadly this is a standard response these days. Much like the TV licencing people sending me a threatening letter when we moved. I rang them and was told “It’s a computer generated letter, not our fault” etc.