If you are a private landlord or managing agent and let out a property as a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), that property must have a valid licence. A licence will normally last for a maximum of five years, although it can be for a shorter period.

A house in multiple occupation is a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (eg a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. It’s sometimes called a ‘house share’.

You must have a licence if you're renting out a large HMO. Your property is defined as a large HMO if all of the following apply:

  • it's rented to 5 or more people who form more than 1 household
  • it's at least 3 storeys high
  • tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

An HMO could be a:

  • house split into separate bedsits
  • shared house or flat, where the sharers are not members of the same family
  • hostel
  • bed-and-breakfast hotel that is not just for holidays
  • shared accommodation for students – although many halls of residence and other types of student accommodation owned by educational establishments are not classed as HMOs
Information

From 1 October 2018 HMOs occupied by five or more people in at least two households will need to be licensed throughout England not just those with three or more storeys. A valid application must submitted by 1 October 2018, to be compliant with this new law.

Purpose built blocks of flats may be exempt.

Applicant / licence holder / manager details

The applicant

This may be the property owner, the proposed license holder, the proposed property manager, the person having control of the property or the person managing the property or somebody acting on their behalf who has completed the application for whatever reason.

The proposed licence holder

The most appropriate person to be responsible for the property and to hold the licence. This will usually be the applicant.

The owner

Means person (other than a mortgagee not in possession) who is for the time being entitled to dispose of the freehold of the premises whether in possession of reversion and includes also a person holding or entitled to the rents and the profits of the premises under a lease which has a term of more than 3 years to expire.

The person having control of the property

This means the person who receives the rack rent of the property or who would be in a position to receive it if the premises were let at a rack rent. Rack rent is defined as the rent which is not less than 2/3rds of the full net rental value of the premises. The person having control includes not only the person who receives the rent in this way on his own account but also someone who receives it as agent or trustee for another or someone else.

Where the property is owned by a company or similar body a responsible person of that company must be named as the licence holder.

The person managing the property

This is not necessarily the same as the Managing Agent or the Manager. The person managing means the person who is an owner or lessee (tenant) of the premises or who receives the rent for the property or other payments for it from persons who are in occupation as tenants or licensees of parts of the premises. This applies whether the person receives the rent directly or through an agent or trustee. Where the rents or other payments are received through someone who is an agent or trustee not only does it include the owner (or lessee) but it also includes the agent or trustee.

Fit and proper person test

The Council must be satisfied that the person applying for an HMO licence is a "fit and proper person" to hold a licence. The test is applied to any person managing the premises and any director or partner in a company or organisation which owns or manages the HMO. Not all convictions are relevant to a person's prospective role as an operator of an HMO. Please note that failure to declare a relevant conviction will be regarded with the conviction as more serious than the conviction itself.

Licencing fees
Mandatory HMO licensing schedule of fees
Property size cost
HMO with 5 to 6 bed spaces £520.00
HMO with 7 to 8 bed spaces £625.00
HMO with 9 plus bed spaces £730.00
Conditions of licence

When you are granted a licence it will come with conditions attached to ensure that the standards in your building continue to be kept. These are mandatory conditions which require the licence holder to ensure:-

  • proper fire safety measures are in place, including working smoke alarms
  • a valid gas safety certificate must be provided annually
  • electrics are checked every 5 years
  • the property is not overcrowded
  • there are enough cooking and bathroom facilities for the number living there
  • communal areas and shared facilities are clean and in good repair

Councils may also apply the following conditions:

  • restrictions or prohibitions on the use of parts of the HMO by occupants
  • a requirement that the condition of the property, its contents, such as furniture and all facilities and amenities, are in good working order
  • a requirement for specified works or repairs to be carried out within a particular timeframe
  • a requirement that the responsible person attends an approved training course.
Informing interested parties

The Act requires you to notify various 'relevant persons' (who have an interest in the HMO) that you are making the application, and to notify the council of those persons' details.

The relevant persons are:

  • the landlord (unless you are the applicant)
  • any other owner of the HMO if the landlord does not own the freehold ie the freeholder and any head lessors, who are known to you
  • any person who is a long leaseholder (you do not need to notify any tenant who has an assured shorthold, an assured or protected tenancy whose tenancy is periodic or has less than three years to run, or a statutory tenant.)
  • any mortgagee
  • the proposed licence holder (unless you are the applicant)
  • the proposed managing agent (if any, and unless you are the applicant)
  • any person who has agreed that he will be bound by any conditions in a licence if it is granted.

Example notification letter to send to interested parties

Fines and penalties

The Housing Act 2004, introduced licensing of HMOs. Landlords and property managing agents who let HMOs, need to apply for a licence from the Local Authority. You could get an unlimited fine for renting out an unlicensed HMO, a criminal record and potentially rent repayment orders.

Reporting changes

You must tell the council if:

  • You plan to make changes to an HMO
  • Your tenants make changes
  • Your tenants’ circumstances change (eg they have a child)
Council tax

The owners of HMOs are responsible for paying the council tax bill.

If all the tenants in a HMO are full-time students, the property will be exempt from council tax.

If there is one person who is not a full-time student living in a property, a discount will apply. If there are two or more people who aren’t full-time students living in a property, no discount will be granted.

Standards required in HMOs

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) must meet certain standards with regard to adequate heating, lighting, ventilation, provision of water, toilet, bathroom and kitchen facilities for the number of tenants.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System

All properties are inspected under the Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). and where appropriate further advice will be provided to deal with, remove or minimise hazards identified.

Amenity standards

These are the minimum standards for the kitchens, toilets, washing facilities, space, heating and water supply.

Fire safety

HMOs are considered to have a higher risk of a fire than average properties, and must therefore have adequate means of escape and other fire precautions.

Inspections

An officer will carry out a full inspection of the property with you, which will cover:

Application guidance and downloads

How to apply or renew a HMO licence

Fill in our simple online form.

Clock Completing this form takes around 20 minutes.

PaperclipYou'll need to provide copies of the following:

  • Name and addresses of proposed licence holder, proposed manager and any owner of the property
  • Annual maintenance record for automatic fire detection system
  • Gas Safety Certificate
  • Electrical Safety Certificate
  • Tenancy agreement
  • Floor plan of the property - Example floor plan and sketch paper
  • Energy Performance Certificate
Apply online

After you've applied

We will acknowledge receipt of your application

We will check to make sure that everything you have sent in is complete and correct. If so, we will arrange an inspection of the HMO with you, to let you know of any works that may be necessary before it can be licensed.

You will be invoiced separately on completion of the online form.

Once we have processed your application we will enter details of your licence on a public register that the Council is obliged by law to keep.

Further guidance

Contact us

You can call into one of our Customer services centres, telephone or email us at.

  • Kirklees Council Housing Solutions Service,
  • Address Huddersfield Customer Service Centre, Civic Centre 3, Market Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2YZ
  • Address Dewsbury Customer Service Centre, Walsh Building, Town Hall Way, Dewsbury, WF12 8EQ
  • Phone 01484 221350
  • Email