From the 30th June 2006, the Housing Act 2004 places a duty on local authorities in Wales to licence houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

A building, or part of a building, will be an HMO if:

  • it is occupied by persons who do not form a single household; and
  • it is occupied by those persons as their only or main residence and their occupation of the living accommodation constitutes the only use of that accommodation; and
  • rent is payable by at least one of the occupiers; and
  • 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

Purpose built blocks of self contained flats are not HMOs, but houses or buildings which have been converted into a block of flats may be a HMO if:

  • the standard of conversion does not comply with the 1991 Building Regulations; and
  • less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied.

The full definition can be found in sections 254, 257 and 259 of the Housing Act 2004

Please note that the definition of a HMO for Council Tax purposes is different to that used for HMO licensing under the Housing Act 2004.

What is HMO licensing?

Licensing looks at both the HMO itself (fire precaution works, conditions, amenities and suitability for a maximum number if occupiers) and also the licence holder and how they manage the property. The licence holder and any manager need to be a 'fit and proper' person'. Information regarding standards required in HMOs can be found in the Related documents section. 

Can a HMO licence transfer from one person to another?

A HMO licence is issued to one person and cannot be transferred to anyone else. If you have a licence for a HMO and you sell the property, the new owner will need to apply for a new licence. 

Which HMOs have to be licensed in Rhondda Cynon Taf?

In Rhondda Cynon Taff there are two types of HMO Licensing:

Mandatory Licensing

Mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation is a scheme that applies across the UK. The scheme only applies to houses in multiple occupation that meet the following criteria:

  • The houses in multiple occupation or any part of it comprises three storeys or more; and
  • It is occupied by five or more persons; and
  • It is occupied by person living in two or more single households, with a sharing of facilities.

Additional Licensing (Houses in Multiple Occupation) Scheme 2014

On the 1 st April 2014 the Council introduced a new County Borough wide HMO Licensing Scheme.

This scheme applies to houses in multiple occupation that meet the following criteria.

  • Entire houses or flats which are let to 3 or more tenants who form 2 or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
  • Houses which has been converted entirely into bedsits or other non-self-contained accommodation and which is let to 3 or more tenants who form two or more households and who share kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities.
  • Converted houses which contain one or more flats which are not wholly self contained (ie the flat does not contain within it a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by 3 or more tenants who form two or more households.
  • Buildings which are converted entirely into self-contained flats if the conversion did not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one-third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies.

In assessing the storeys in a property for either scheme, we will take account of:

  • any basement that is used wholly or partly as living accommodation or that is being used in connection with, and as integral part of, the houses in multiple occupation
  • any attic if it is used wholly or partly as living accommodation or that is being used in connection with, and as an integral part of, the houses in multiple occupation.

Where the houses in multiple occupation is situated in part of a building above or below a business premise, the storey that includes the business premises will be included.

Planning rules have recently changed in respect of the HMOs containing 3-6  persons. There is a new legal requirement  to obtain planning consent  where a planning class use change has occurred. Full details of this can be found here.

Application process

If your property meets the criteria of any one of the above schemes, you will need to apply for a licence. If your property  already has a five year licence under the 2009 Additional Licensing Scheme (e.g it is a property let to 4 tenants who formed 3 or more households) and this licence extends beyond 31st March 2014, your licence will be automatically transferred onto the 2014 Scheme until at which point it expires.

If your property requires a licence under the 2014 scheme, you can now apply for a licence using the 2014 Scheme Application Form

 

Receipt of application notification:

If making an application online you will receive a notification of receipt of payment once a payment has been successfully made. You will then receive an e-mail notification that your application is being processes.  If an application is sent into our Licensing department you will receive a letter notifying you that the application is being processed along with a receipt of payments made within 7 working days  If you hand an application form into our reception office you will receive a receipt of payment immediately and will receive a letter notifying you that the application is being processes within 7 working days

Timescales

Please note: It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact them using the details below

Costs

The fee structure can be found in the related documents section. Please contact the Council before making a payment if you are unsure how much you will need to pay. Please note, application forms will not be processed until full payment is received and payments will not be taken over the telephone unless the Council is already in receipt of an application form.

Disclosure

Applicants are required to provide a Basic level of Disclosure, Disclosure Scotland can be contacted on their information line: 0870 609 6006  For further information please see www.disclosurescotland.co.uk 

You will also be required to supply additional documentation once we have received your initial application

Appeal process

Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.  Any applicant who is refused a licence or wishes to appeal against conditions attached to their licence, can appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal (RPT) Wales

Public registers

A full list of all current licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation is held by the Council. Arrangements to view the register can be made by contacting publichealthhousing@rctcbc.gov.uk

Public health & Housing Team
Tel: 01443 425478
Fax: 01443
SMS: 07781489133

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