Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

HMO licensing

Who must hold the licence?

Either the landlord (owner) or someone they nominate (such as a manager or agent) can hold the licence, provided that person is in agreement. To grant a licence, we must be satisfied that:

  • The proposed licence holder and any manager of the property are ‘fit and proper’ persons
  • The proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • Satisfactory management standards are in place.

The HMO is reasonably suitable, or can be made suitable, for occupation by the number of tenants allowed under the licence and has at least the minimum prescribed standards of amenities and facilities (including the number, type and quality of shared bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities).

What does the term ‘fit and proper person’ mean?

The licence holder and any manager must be ‘fit and proper’ persons to hold the licence or manage the HMO.  In determining whether the licence holder or manager is ‘fit and proper, we will consider:

  • 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 breached any approved code of practice.

The licensing application form has a ‘fit and proper’ person declaration that the proposed licence holder and any manager must complete and sign. A DBS certificate will be included as part of this process.

What are the licence terms and conditions?

The HMO licence will specify the maximum number of people permitted to occupy the HMO and if necessary the number of people permitted to occupy each room within the HMO.

The HMO licence will be valid for up to five years.

There are mandatory licensing conditions that must be complied with. These include:

  • Provision of an annual gas safety certificate;
  • Ensuring all electrical appliances and furniture are kept in a safe condition;
  • Ensuring smoke alarms are installed and kept in proper working order;
  • Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room containing a solid fuel burning combustion appliance and keep the alarm in proper working order;
  • Provision of a tenancy agreement to each occupier.

Discretionary conditions may also be applied, these could include: 

  • Restrictions or prohibitions on the use or occupation of parts of the HMO;
  • Requirement to deal with any anti-social behaviour by person(s) occupying or visiting the HMO;
  • Provision of additional facilities;
  • Requirements to ensure the fixed electrical installations, electrical appliances and fire detection systems are in working order and the relevant certificates are provided.