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Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) licence

You need a licence if:

  • you rent out a property to 5 or more tenants, who form more than one ‘household’; and
  • they share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

A 'household' is defined as:

  • a family eg, a couple or relatives
  • a person and their carer
  • a foster child and their parent

If you need a licence and do not have one, it may result in the Council issuing a civil penalty of up to £30,000 or taking prosecution action that could result in an unlimited fine upon summary conviction (previously £20,000 maximum). Also, a Residential Property Tribunal may make a Rent Repayment Order requiring you to repay any rents due during the period for which the property was unlicensed.

Apply for a licence

Before making an application, we would recommend reading:

The Housing – Fire Safety guidance published by LACORS
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006

You must complete the application form and send it to us with the following:

  • the fee
  • a copy to show evidence of membership of a professional body such as the National Landlords Association or the Residential Landlords Association where you are claiming the 10% discount off the fee
  • a layout plan of the property, indicating the layout, position and use of each room, room number, room sizes/measurements. Indicate position of all fire safety measures eg. smoke alarms and/or heat detectors, fire doors, emergency lighting and fire control panel
  • a current satisfactory electrical installation inspection report for the property provided by a competent person ie. NICEIC, issued within the last 5 years for the parts of the HMO owned/have control over
  • a current satisfactory Landlords Gas Safety Certificate ie. Gas Safety Registered Engineer (if gas supply provided) issued within the last 12 months
  • a current Inspection and Test Certificate for the emergency lighting system ie. BS:5266 issued within the last 12 months
  • a current Inspection and Test Certificate for the Automatic Fire Detection system ie. BS:5839 issued within the last 12 months
  • a current Portable appliance Test Certificate for any portable electrical appliances that you supply for your tenants to use
  • additional information where yes is answered in the Fit and Proper Persons section of the application form.

The standard fee to apply for a new licence, for a property with up to 5 households is £679.02. There is an additional fee of £31.78 to be paid for each additional household.

A 10% discount off the licence fee is offered if you are members of a professional organisation such as National Landlords Association or the Residential Landlords Association. If this is the case, please provide evidence of this membership with your application.

We will issue a licence If we are satisfied that:

  • the property is reasonably suitable for the number of people allowed and meets our minimum standards for toilets, bathrooms, kitchen facilities etc
  • there are adequate management arrangements in place
  • there are adequate finances to manage the property
  • we consider the you to be ‘fit and proper’
  • we consider the manager, if there is one, to be ‘fit and proper’ and competent

In deciding whether a person is ‘fit and proper’, we will take into account:

  • any previous convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs, fraud and discrimination
  • any previous breaches of housing or landlord and tenant laws
  • any breaches of HMO approved codes of practice

Once issued, a licence will last for up to 5 years. It may be issued for less than 5 years if there are works required at the property.

There are certain conditions attached to all licences, including that the licence holder must:

  • produce a gas safety certificate to us annually
  • keep any electrical appliances and furniture provided in a safe condition
  • provide any electrical certificates to us, with one being due once every 5 years and ensure any electrical work in the report to the certificate is completed
  • make sure any portable appliances supplied are inspected every 6 months and, where they are over 12 months old, every 3 years to have an electrical test and send us a copy of the test report
  • ensure emergency lighting, fire detection systems, smoke alarms and heat detectors installed are kept in proper working order and all means of escape is kept free from any obstructions
  • keep any carbon monoxide alarms which are in any room, including a hall or landing, in the house which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation (including a bathroom or lavatory) and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance, in good working order
  • make sure the supply of water, electricity and where there is a supply of gas, is continuous and all equipment maintained in good condition.
    Supply tenants with a written statement of the terms of their tenancy (Tenancy Agreement)
  • ensure the HMO is properly managed (Link to Houses in Multiple Occupation page)

We can also attach certain conditions of our own to a licence, which are specific to your property. You can appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal if we decide to attach our own conditions to a licence or refuse one completely. If that were the case, we would provide you details of how to appeal.

We will visit your property to ensure these conditions are being met and that there are no serious hazards as identified in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

Renew a licence

If you already hold a licence, we would recommend you apply to renew it no later than 2 months before it is due to expire.

The standard fee to renew a licence, for a property with up to 5 households is £434.56. There is an additional fee of £31.78 to be paid for each additional household.

A 10% discount off the licence fee is offered if you are members of a professional organisation such as National Landlords Association or the Residential Landlords Association. If this is the case, please provide evidence of this membership with your application.