Challenging HMO declarations: Herefordshire Council v Rohde

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The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (UT) has held [1] that the First-tier tribunal (F-tT) was wrong to revoke a declaration made pursuant to section 255 of the Housing Act 2004 (HA 2004) (a house in multiple occupation (HMO) declaration).

On appeal, the UT agreed with the principal argument made by the local housing authority (LHA), that the F-tT did not do what section 255 of the HA 2004 directed it to do. The F-tT had revoked the HMO declaration on the basis of what it saw when it inspected the property, whereas it should have:

  • Confirmed or reversed the decision by the LHA to serve the HMO declaration.
  • Made its decision based not only on its inspection but also on what was available to the LHA when the LHA made its decision to serve the HMO declaration.

This decision will be of interest to local housing authorities and property owners that deal with HMOs, particularly those that are charged with dealing with, and challenging, HMO declarations. It clarifies the procedure to be followed by the tribunal when considering challenges to HMO declarations.


[1] Herefordshire Council v Rohde [2016] UKUT 39 (LC)