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Multiple occupancy homes

What is a licensable HMO (House in Multiple Occupation)?

Important changes to HMO Licensing

How to apply for a HMO licence

What should I do if I think a property should be licensed but isn't?

Landlords of certain houses in multiple occupation must obtain a licence and to manage the premises within conditions specified on that licence. We carry out safety inspections and issues licences for homes of multiple occupancy.

What is a licensable HMO (House in Multiple Occupation)?

A landlord must have a licence for a privately-rented House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) if it meets the following criteria:

  • any amount of storeys (including usable basements or attics)
  • is occupied by five or more people
  • those people form two or more households, and
  • tenants share some amenities (i.e. kitchen, bathroom or laundry).

It is currently an offence to operate a licensable HMO without a licence - there are heavy penalties on conviction.

Important changes to HMO Licensing

pdf icon Press Release HMO Licensing [213kb]

Please be aware that the scope of mandatory licensing for houses in multiple occupation is being extended. This will mean far more HMO's will fall into the mandatory licensing criteria.

The new regulations will apply where certain HMO's are occupied by five persons or more in two or more households regardless of the number of storeys. This includes any HMO which is a building or a converted flat where such householders lack or share basic amenities such as a toilet, bathroom or kitchen.

The new rules will also require that Local Authorities include conditions that licence holders will need to comply with that restrict the use of bedrooms under a certain size, specifically:

  • the floor area of any room in a HMO used as sleeping accommodation by 1 person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51m²
  • the floor area of any room in a HMO used as sleeping accommodation by 2 persons aged over 10 years is not less than 10.22m²
  • the floor area of any room in a HMO used as sleeping accommodation by 1 person aged under 10 years is not less than 4.64m²
  • any room in a HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64m² is not used as sleeping accommodation
  • floor area with a ceiling height of less than 1.5m cannot be counted in any total floor area calculation. A room is used as sleeping accommodation if it is normally used as a bedroom, whether or not it is also used for other purposes.
  • landlords of licensed HMO's comply with any relevant local authority waste scheme relating to the storage and disposal of household waste at the HMO pending collection.

We would encourage all landlords and agents managing properties that meet the new criteria to apply for a licence at the earliest opportunity. The changes come into force 1 October 2018 and after this date it will be an offence to operate a HMO that meets the above criteria without a licence.  

For more information please contact the Private Sector Housing Team on 01623 463212 or alternatively see DASH Guidance on Houses in Multiple Occupation - pdf icon A Landlords Guide [426kb]

How to apply for a HMO Licence

Complete and return the HMO licence application form.

The total fee for a licence is £634.60 which is broken down into two payments. The first payment of £440 must accompany the application form and then a second payment of £194.60 will be payable when the licence is issued.

There is a £50 discount per application (applied on the first payment) for landlords that have achieved accredited status through DASH Accreditation.

Properties required to be licensed need to meet certain standards set out in Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation in England: A guide for landlords and managers.

What should I do if I think a property should be licensed but isn't?

You can check with us to see if it's already been licensed, or simply tell us the address and other information you think is useful.

We will treat the information in complete confidence.

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