Applying for a HMO

The definition of an HMO under Section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 is as follows: A building or a part of a building meets the “standard test” if—

  1. It consists of one or more units of living accommodation not consisting of a self-contained flat or flats;
  2. The living accommodation is occupied by persons who do not form a single household (see section 258);
  3. The living accommodation is occupied by those persons as their only or main residence or they are to be treated as so occupying it (see section 259);
  4. Their occupation of the living accommodation constitutes the only use of that accommodation;
  5. Rents are payable or other consideration is to be provided in respect of at least one of those persons' occupation of the living accommodation; and
  6. Two or more of the households who occupy the living accommodation share one or more basic amenities or the living accommodation is lacking in one or more basic amenities. (Toilet, personal washing and cooking facilities)

A household is defined as either a single person or members of the same family who are living together. Other premises may also be classed as HMO’s such as converted blocks of self-contained flats that do not meet the 1991 Building Regulation standards for conversion.

HMO licensing

Currently, you must have a licence if you’re renting out a specified HMO. Your property is defined as a licensable HMO if all of the following apply:

  • it’s rented to 5 or more people who form more than 1 household
  • there is a sharing (or lack) of amenities such as kitchens, bathrooms, toilets.
  • NB. The previous three storey building criteria was removed under new legislation as of October 1st 2018.

Failure to licence an HMO that needs licensing is a serious offence and can result in prosecution. The Council can issue a Civil Penalty Notice upto £30,000 for offences relating to licensing and management of HMO's. Always seek advice and guidance from Environmental Health if you have any doubts. If approached, we will work pro-actively to bring the property and the Landlord into compliance.

Licences will be granted if:

  • The house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation
  • The applicant is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • Any proposed manager, having control of the house, is a fit and proper person to be the manager
  • The management arrangements are satisfactory
  • A complete application is submitted with all supporting documentary evidence. An incomplete application will be returned to the applicant.

The Council will normally issue a draft licence for the applicant to discuss and make representation on. If after the consultation period there are no objections or requests for alterations, a full 5 year licence will be issued. If a Licence application is refused, an applicant can appeal to a First Tier Property Tribunal. The details of the licence holder will be held on a mandatory public register freely available to the public. The register contains information including the name and address of the Licence Holder, address of the HMO, Number of permitted occupiers/ Households, Licence expiry and reference number.

Licensable HMO's must meet mandatory amenity standards before they can be licenced. 

Click here for FEES & CHARGES for HMO licensing.


Additional exemptions to HMO licensing

There are some exemptions from Licensing HMO’s that are described in Schedule 14 of the Housing Act 2014

  1. A building where the person managing or having control of it is:
  • A local housing authority,
  • A non-profit registered provider of social housing
  • A body which is registered as a social landlord under Part 1 of the Housing Act 1996 (c. 52),
  • A police and crime commissioner,
  • the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime,
  • A fire and rescue authority, or
  • A health service body within the meaning of section 9 of the National Health Service Act 2006.
  1. A building which is social housing within the meaning of Part 2 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, and where the person managing or having control of it is a profit-making registered provider of social housing
  2. Certain buildings controlled by co-operative societies
  3. Certain student accommodation establishments
  4. Buildings occupied by religious establishments
  5. Buildings where an OWNER shares with a maximum of two other unrelated individuals
  6. Buildings shared by a maximum of two unrelated individuals.