Q. What is a House of Multiple Occupation?

A. 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.

Q. What is HMO Additional Licensing?

A.        The Housing Act 2004 allows local Authorities to specify that landlords of some or all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) must apply for a license if they want to let to tenants.  A scheme can cover the whole of the Authority’s area and all types of HMOs, or can be designed for a specific area and specific HMOs.  An additional licensing scheme can last for a maximum of 5 years at which point it is reviewed to confirm it has achieved the desired outcomes and whether it should be extended or withdrawn.

Licensing gives The Council the power to require all landlords of HMOs (included in the scheme) to apply for a license and provide details of the management arrangements and the property.  This will enable officers to know where these properties are and place conditions on the license holder to ensure minimum standards of safety, welfare and management are maintained. 

License holders will have to be fit and proper persons and satisfactory management arrangements will have to be in place. 

Landlords will have to pay a fee for each license application to cover the Council’s costs of running the scheme. 

The council will compile a register of licensed properties with landlords contact details and maximum occupancy and property details. The register of HMOs will be available to the public so they can find out who manages HMOs near them and are able to more quickly and easily report problems.

The council will be able to proactively inspect licensed properties to deal with any significant health and safety hazards and ensure they meet minimum management requirements.

Where landlords are unable to meet the licensing requirements the council can pursue the necessary sanctions against the landlord which could include prosecution and forcing a change of management of the property. 

Operating a property covered by the designation without a license is an offence punishable by a fine up to £20,000.

Q. How many HMOs are there in RCT?

A.  As of April 2018 there were 544 Licensed HMOs with another 22 properties pending completion of their license application.

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