Private Sector Housing FAQ's



What is a House in Multiple Occupation?


There are three main types of HMOs

Non-licensable HMO


S. 254, of the Housing Act 2004


An entire house or flat which is let to:

  • At least 3 tenants,
  • Forming 2 or more households
  • Sharing a facility such as a bathroom, toilet or kitchen.

Licensable HMO


Part 2 Housing Act 2004


Buildings that are;

  • 3 or more storeys high, (inc commercial unit and 2 storeys above)
  • 5 or more tenants
  • Forming 2 or more households.

Certain converted blocks of flats


s.257, of the Housing Act 2004


  • A building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats, if the conversion does not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations.
  • More than one-third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies.


What is a Household?

A household is defined under s.258 of the Housing Act 2004 as:

Persons are to be regarded as forming a single household if:

  1. All members of the household are related or
  2. If a couple are living as husband or wife (or equivalent relationship)


How long is a licence valid?

You require a separate licence for each HMO you run and the licence is valid for 5 years


Are there any conditions?

You must make sure:

  • the house is suitable for the number of occupants (e.g. size and facilities)
  • the manager of the house - you or an agent - is considered to be ‘fit and proper’, e.g. no criminal record, or breach of landlord laws or code of practice

You must also:

  • send the Council an updated gas safety certificate every year
  • install and maintain smoke alarms
  • provide safety certificates for all electrical appliances when requested

The Council may add other conditions to your license, e.g. improving the standard of your facilities.


Are there any exemptions?

HMOs exempt from licensing include

  • buildings, or parts of buildings, occupied by no more than two households each of which comprise a single person (that is. two person flat shares)
  • buildings occupied by a resident landlord with up to two tenants buildings managed or owned by a public body (such as the police or the NHS) or an LHA or a Registered Social Landlord
  • buildings where the residential accommodation is ancillary to the principal use of the building, for example religious establishments, conference centre’s and such like:
  • student halls of residence, where the education establishment has signed up to an Approved Code of Practice
  • buildings regulated otherwise than under the Act, such as care homes, bail hostels etc, and the description of which are specified in regulations
  • buildings entirely occupied by freeholders or long leaseholders