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Licensing for houses in multiple occupation

What is mandatory and additional licencing, what are the penalties for failing to have a licence, how to apply and the cost, what you need and how to get a temporary exemption notice.

What is mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation?

Since April 2006, landlords who let certain types of houses in multiple occupation (HMO) have been required to have a licence.  Licensing was introduced to improve management and standards in houses in multiple occupation because these kinds of houses pose greater fire risks and there can also be problems as a result of people having to share facilities.

Under the national mandatory licensing scheme the definition of an HMO which must be licensed is one that has 5 or more people, forming 2 or more households, who are sharing facilities such as toilets, bathrooms and kitchens regardless of the number of storeys.

We have an online form help you find out whether a property may be an HMO or if it needs a licence. It should only be used as a guide and there are some exemptions, so if you unsure about whether you may own an HMO please contact the private sector housing team:

Determine if a property is a house in multiple occupation? (opens in new window)

For further advice you can:

Request a service from private sector housing

Email: private.sector.housing@eastriding.gov.uk

Tel: (01482) 396301

What is additional licensing of houses in multiple occupation?

A local authority can choose to impose an additional licensing scheme on certain categories of houses in multiple occupations (HMO), if it feels that failures in management or anti-social behaviour issues need to be addressed.

Since 2011 the council extended the existing licensing laws for smaller HMO's in the south-east of Goole which previously did not require a licence. The decision was made under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004 (the Act) and The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006.

Properties within the designated area which meet the following criteria are required to be licensed under the additional licensing scheme:

  • has 4 or more people, forming 2 or more households, who are sharing facilities such as toilets, bathrooms and kitchens
  • has 2 or more floors, including cellars, basements and loft conversions.

Map of designated additional licensing area (pdf 630kb opens in new window)

If you are in any doubt about whether you have a property within the area which requires a licence, you can make an enquiry online:

Request a service from private sector housing

Email:  private.sector.housing@eastriding.gov.uk

Tel: (01482) 396301

What are the penalties for failing to have a licence?

A landlord operating a licensable property without a licence risks prosecution and could face an unlimited fine.

It also gives tenants and the council, in the case of housing benefit payments, the ability to reclaim all rent paid over the preceding 12 months.

How do I apply for a licence for a house in multiple occupation?

Anyone who owns or manages a house in multiple (HMO) that requires a licence should apply to the council. There will be a fee to pay for the licence.

Applications can be made either by:

Apply for a house in multiple occupation (HMO licence)

or by completing the following appropriate application form and returning it to the address found on the form.

Mandatory HMO Licensing Application Form (pdf 353kb opens in new window)

Additional HMO Licensing Application Form (pdf 250kb opens in new window)

HMO licensing fees (pdf 60kb opens in new window)

For further advice please make an enquiry online

Alternatively, you can contact the council:

Tel: (01482) 396301

Email: private.sector.housing@eastriding.gov.uk

What do I need to make a licence application?

When you apply for a licence you will need to provide the following documents and guarantees:

  • produce a valid gas safety certificate annually, where appropriate
  • keep all electrical appliances and furniture in a safe condition
  • prove that all smoke alarms are correctly positioned and in working order
  • provide all occupiers with a written statement of the terms on which they occupy the property, often known as a 'tenancy agreement'
  • a Basic Disclosure certificate which gives details of an individual's criminal convictions, or state that they have none. Further information on how to obtain a 'Disclosure' certificate can be found on the GOV.UK website:
    GOV.UK - Request a basic DBS check (external website)

The licence cannot relate to more than one property or be transferred to another person. It will last for a maximum of 5 years and will specify the number of people who may live in the HMO.

How do I apply for a variation to a licence for a house in multiple occupation?

You can use the following form to apply for a variation to an existing licence, including transferring a licence or changing conditions.

Apply for a variation to an HMO licence

Applications for a variation of a licence are made under section 69 of the Housing Act 2004. 

Certain conditions are required by law, but other changes can be made to the licence, such as changing the licence holder or a number of occupants.

What happens next? Read more:

Once received, your application will be considered, along with any representations made.  If necessary, we may ask for further information, or visit the property and discuss alternative options with you.  Applications are normally processed within 6-8 weeks. 

Once a decision has been made you will receive a notice from the council informing you of the changes. 

How much does a licence cost?

The council charges a fee to cover the administrative costs for issuing a licence.

The following document provides a full list of the HMO licensing fees:

HMO licensing fees (pdf 60kb opens in new window)

What amenities and space standards do I have to provide in my licensable house in multiple occupation?

Landlords must ensure the house in multiple (HMO) has rooms of a reasonable size and has enough bathrooms, cooking facilities and toilets for the number of people living there. The amount of amenities needed will depend on the type of property and the number of occupants living at the property.

The following PDF document provides guidance on the amenity and space requirements for houses in multiple occupation:

 HMO Guidance and Amenity Standards (pdf 248kb opens in new window)

The following PDF document sets out the conditions applicable for licensable HMO properties:

Houses in Multiple Occupation Conditions (pdf 103kb opens in new window)

Additionally, the document below sets out the new mandatory HMO License conditions that landlords and officers will have regard to from 1 October 2018, it also provides details for the refuse scheme which licenced HMOs need to comply with:

New HMO mandatory conditions plus refuse scheme advice (pdf 264kb opens in new window)

What is a temporary exemption notice?

Temporary Exemption Notices (TEN) are notices which temporarily exempt a licensable property from requiring a licence. These can be issued by the council if they are satisfied that the person required to be the licence holder proposes to take steps necessary to ensure the property no longer requires a licence, for example, if tenants are leaving or the property is being sold.

How do I get a temporary exemption notice for my house in multiple occupation?

Where the person having control of or managing a licensable HMO intends to take certain steps to remove the property from licensing, they must notify the council and apply for a temporary exemption from HMO licensing.

A Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN) can usually only be issued for 3 months. In exceptional circumstances, a second TEN may be issued for a further 3 months, and you can apply online:

Apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice

What are the changes to mandatory HMO licensing from 1 October 2018?

If you are a landlord or managing agent and let out a property as a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), that property must have a valid licence.

New regulations came into force on 1 October 2018 regarding houses in multiple occupation which change the definition of a licensable HMO and the mandatory conditions that are included in the licence issued by the council.

The changes extend mandatory licensing to include any HMO which is occupied by 5 or more people, in 2 or more households, where occupiers lack or share bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities regardless of the number of storeys. 

New rules will also come into force setting minimum size requirements for bedrooms in HMOs to prevent overcrowding. Landlords will also be required to adhere to council refuse schemes, to reduce problems with rubbish.

If you think any of your properties fall within the new definition then you will need to apply for a licence or you will be committing a criminal offence. Landlords and managing agents are being encouraged to apply as soon as possible so that a licence can be issued on the introduction of the new legislation.

If you currently have an HMO licensed under the council’s additional licensing scheme which operates in Goole and it falls under the new definition of a mandatory licensable HMO, your current licence will remain valid and no action is needed until it comes up for renewal.

Further information about the changes can be found on the Legislation.gov.uk website:

The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 (external website)