Houses in multiple occupations (HMO) licensing

What is an HMO?

Your property is an HMO if it is rented out to at least three tenants. The residents cannot be from the same ‘household’ (e.g. relatives, couples), and must share bathroom or cooking facilities.

Do I need an HMO licence?

From 1 October 2018 new legislation was introduced, stating that all properties that are rented out to five or more people, not from one family must have an HMO licence.

Failure to have the correct licence after this date could mean prosecution or a civil penalty for landlords or letting agents.

Apply for an HMO licence

Make your application to the Private Sector Housing department, for an HMO licence. Your payment can be submitted online as part of your application.

Read further information to support your application. Please note: we are no longer processing paper applications.

Licence fees

HMO Licence fees from 1 April 2019

Houses in Multiple Occupation

– standard licence

single application

£647.00

multiple application

£583.00

– standard licence

increased occupancy numbers

11 – 15

single application

£971.00

multiple application

£907.00

16 – 20

single application

£1,133.00

multiple application

£1,069.00

21 plus

single application

£1,295.00

multiple application

£1,231.00

Houses in Multiple Occupation

– renewal licence

single application

 

£492.00

 

multiple application

£428.00

– renewal licence

increased occupancy numbers

11 – 15

single application

£816.00

multiple application

£752.00

16 – 20

single application

£978.00

multiple application

£914.00

21 plus

single application

£1,140.00

multiple application

£1,076.00

Please note:
Floor plans - please ensure you label the rooms (for example 'bedroom 1' and 'bedroom 2') with sizes in m2 (square meters), and that the rooms correspond with the application form.

If you have previously submitted your certificates when you applied for your mandatory licence and the certificates are in date and have not expired, you will not need to re-submit them.

Report an unlicensed HMO property

Has my landlord applied for a licence?

Under the Housing Act 2004, every local authority has to maintain a register of premises licensed as an HMO. This register has to be made available for public inspection.

Public register

Further information:

  • Properties under the management or control of a local housing authority, a registered social landlord or certain other public bodies
  • Properties regulated under other enactments such as children's homes, care homes and bail hostels
  • Students studying a full time course of further education and higher education at a specified education establishment which manage the building and the specified education establishment is subject to an approved Code of Practice
  • Properties occupied for the purpose of a religious community whose main occupation is prayer, contemplation, education or the relief of suffering
  • Properties occupied by a resident landlord, family and not more than 2 unrelated persons
  • Properties occupied by only two persons each of who form a separate household.
HMO's have a higher risk of fire than single family dwellings due to increased occupancy, multiple ignition sources, vulnerable occupants, poor construction and lack of fire prevention measures.

Fire safety is included in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and is inspected by the Council.

Basics precautions:
  • Remove polystyrene ceiling tiles
  • Discourage use of portable gas or liquid heaters
  • Ensure that the electrical wiring is safe
  • Ensure that gas appliances are tested annually by a Gas Safe Engineer
  • Ensure regular maintenance of all fire apparatus, fire alarms and emergency lighting in line with the current British Standards
  • Provide a sensible internal layout
  • Fire resistant surface finishes
  • Property regularly inspected for disrepair
  • Keep escape routes free from obstruction
  • Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority also inspect HMO's communal areas under the Regulatory.

The minimum room sizes for HMO properties with 5 or more sharing are:

  • 6.51 m² for one person over 10 years of age
  • 10.22 m² for two persons over 10 years of age
  • 4.64 m² for one person under the age of 10 years - will be a mandatory condition that any room of less than 4.64 m² may not be used as sleeping accommodation.
  • A guide to understanding the basic standards for HMO properties - Standards for Houses of Multiple Occupation Guide

    If you rent out a property for house in multiple occupancy (HMO), you may require a licence from your local authority.

    A house in multiple occupation (HMO) means a house that is occupied by persons who do not form a single household and where there is usually some sharing of facilities such as kitchen, bathroom or shared access. Examples of HMO include shared houses, bedsits and buildings converted into flats.

    HMO properties play an important role in providing cheap and flexible accommodation in the private rented housing market. Unfortunately, many of the worst housing conditions can be found in these properties and due to the nature of occupation and typical layout of the buildings can pose a significant fire risk to occupants.

    Additional safety requirements apply to all HMO properties particularly relating to fire safety, overcrowding and provision of amenities. The Council actively identifies HMO dwellings and takes action to ensure they meet the current standards, larger HMO properties are subject to routine inspection.

    In late 2004 the Government introduced a mandatory licence scheme for HMO's consisting 3 storeys or more and 5 or more occupants. If you own or manage such a property you should contact us with a view to registering your details, failure to apply for a licence may constitute an offence punishable by fine of up to £20,000.

    The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006

    A manager of a HMO has a duty to manage the house under the above legislation. These regulations include bedsits, shared flats and houses, buildings not fully converted into self contained flats, hostels and guest houses.

    The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007 also include Section 257 HMO's.

    Both pieces of legislation have very similar managerial requirements. This includes:

    • The manager is to provide his/her name, address and telephone number to all occupants and to display this in a prominent position.
    • All means of escape from fire to be kept free from obstruction
    • Fire alarms and fire fighting equipment to be kept in good order
    • Take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the occupiers. This includes protecting the occupants from falls from low window sills, balconies and roofs.
    • To ensure that the water supply and drainage system is maintained in a good, clean working condition. Including water fittings liable to damage from frost to be protected.
    • To provide a copy of the latest Gas Safe certificate and electric wiring test certificate within seven days of the Council requesting it. The electrical wiring must be tested at intervals not exceeding five years by a qualified person. These supplies must not be unreasonably interrupted.
    • Maintain the common parts, fixtures, fittings and appliances in good order, clean decorative repair and free from obstruction. This includes handrails, stair coverings, windows and adequate lighting.
    • Maintain common outbuildings, yard and forecourt in good order
    • Gardens, boundary walls, fencing and railing to be kept in good safe condition.
    • Living accommodation to be kept in good repair.
    • Provide proper facilities and arrangements for refuse storage and disposal.

    Who is the Manager?

    • The owner of the property, or
    • A person receiving rent or other monies.

    The manager must give at least 24 hours notice to access the property unless there is an emergency. If reasonable access is refused the manager should get advice from a solicitor or a professional organisation before taking further action.

    Records should be kept by the manager to demonstrate an effective management system.

    Tenant Responsibilities

    The tenant may be responsible under terms of a tenancy agreement but under the Regulations the manager is responsible for ensuring that things are put right when problems occur. This is because the failure of one tenant can result in the other tenants being put at risk.

    Under the above Regulations the tenant responsibilities are:

    • Take care not to hinder the manager in the performance of their duties.
    • Allow access to the manager at reasonable times so that he/she can carry out his duties.
    • Provide information which the manager may require to comply with his/her duties.
    • Take care to avoid damaging the property
    • Comply with the managers arrangements for the storage and disposal of rubbish
    • Comply with the manager's reasonable instructions in respect of means of escape from fire, prevention of fire and use of fire equipment.

    These responsibilities are usually more appropriate to pursue by the manager under his/her powers under the tenancy agreement.

    As part of the new requirements for a HMO licence, you must comply with any local waste policy relating to the storage and disposal of the household waste pending collection from the HMO.