Changes to houses in multiple occupation

The Government has now decided to extend the scope of mandatory HMO licensing to bring smaller HMOs within the scheme. From the 1 October 2018 the following properties will require a mandatory HMO licence:

All HMO's:

  • with 5 or more occupants
  • making up 2 or more households*
  • where occupants share basic amenities such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities (this essentially removes the storey element)
  • purpose built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both are occupied in the above definition

There is no grace period for the new mandatory licensing requirements. Valid applications must be received before the 1 October 2018, and failure to apply for licenses by this date is a criminal offence.

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Anyone who owns or manages a house in multiple occupation (HMO) that needs a licence must apply to us.

We must give a licence if we're satisfied that:

  • the HMO is reasonably suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence
  • the proposed licence holder is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • the proposed manager, if there is one, is a fit and proper person
  • the proposed management arrangements are satisfactory
  • the person involved in the management of the HMO is competent
  • the financial structures for the management are suitable

In deciding whether someone is a "fit and a proper person", we must take into account:

  • any previous convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs and fraud
  • whether the proposed licence holder has broken any laws relating to housing or landlord and tenant issues
  • whether the person has been found guilty of unlawful discrimination
  • whether the person has previously managed HMOs that have broken any approved code of practice

The licence will specify the maximum number of people who may live in an HMO and will also include conditions which apply to every licence:

  • a valid current gas safety certificate, which is renewed annually, must be provided
  • all electrical appliances and furniture are kept in a safe condition
  • all smoke alarms are correctly positioned and installed
  • each occupier must have a written statement of the terms on which they occupy the property, for example, a tenancy agreement

A licence normally lasts for a maximum of five years, although it can be for a shorter period. Landlords will have to pay a fee to cover the costs of the licence procedure.

Find out more about how to apply for an HMO

Licence refusal

We have powers to refuse a licence if the property doesn't meet our conditions and the landlord or manager isn't a fit and proper person.

More information about HMOs is available on the GOV.UK website.

Page last updated 03/05/2018