Landlords in Birmingham will soon no longer be able to own properties which have five or more tenants without possessing a special licence.

Rented houses comprising three or more storeys and five or more people living in one household - known as houses in multiple occupation - have been categorised by Labour as high risk in terms of safety.

It is estimated that some 2,500 properties fall into this category in Birmingham and the new requirement, part of the Housing Act 2004, is aimed at raising safety standards in such accommodation.

Landlords have been able to apply for the licences since April 6 and those who fail to comply before July 3 could face fines of up to £20,000.

Birmingham City Council has contacted a number of landlords in the city through the Landlords Forum and produced information packs and a website in an attempt to inform them before the deadline.The HMO team is also planning to hold drop-in events where assistance can be given in completing the forms needed for the licence.

The basic HMO licence fee in Birmingham has been set at £500 and will be valid for up to five years.