Under the changes in the Housing Act 2004, if a landlord lets any property which has two or more persons who do not form the same household will be in control of a House in Multiple Occupation and subject to regulations governing that tenancy.

From the 1st October 2018 if the landlord lets any property where there are 5 or more persons, forming two or more households the Landlord will be operating a Licensable House in Multiple Occupation.

Failure to register a licensable House in Multiple Occupation will be guilty of operating without a licence and may be prosecuted. Should the Landlord be advised to apply for a license by the Local Authority an additional fee of £215 will be payable for the license which is currently £805 for a license for up to 5 Years.

  • in order to be an HMO, the property must be used as the tenants' only or main residence and it should be used solely or mainly to house tenants. Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence and the same will apply to properties which are used as domestic refuges

If you rent out a property for a house in multiple occupancies, you may require an HMO licence from your local authority. The Council operates an Amenity Standard that has been approved by Full Council the document can be found OWBC HMO and Private Sector Amenity Standard (PDF Document, 10 Mb)

The current table of HMO's within the borough can be found here: Houses in Multiple Occupation Register (Excel Spreadsheet, 12.82 Kb)

Homes in Multiple Occupancy - Licence

This page contains details about the criteria for and how to apply for a house in multiple occupations.

Licence summary

If you rent out a property for a house in multiple occupations (HMO), you may require a licence from your local authority.

Eligibility criteria

Applications must be made to the local housing authority.

A fee may be charged.

You must be a fit and proper person to hold the licence.

The premises must meet the Councils Amenity Standard OWBC HMO and Private Sector Amenity Standard (PDF Document, 10 Mb)

Regulation summary

A summary of the eligibility criteria for this licence

Application evaluation process

Licences will be granted if:-

  • the house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupations,

  • the applicant is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence,

  • the proposed manager has control of the house, and is a fit and proper person to be the manager,

  • the management arrangements are satisfactory.

Will tacit consent apply

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period.

Apply online

Apply for a house in multiple occupation licence. The standard fee is £590 + £250 enforcement fee.

  • To renew an existing HMO licence you should follow the above link. The renewal fee for an HMO licence is £560 + £250 enforcement fee.

Tell us about a change to your existing house in multiple occupation licence

  • The fee for an unlicenced premise identified by the Council incurs an additional fee of £216.00 to the mandatory HMO licence fee.

HMO Public Register (Excel Spreadsheet, 12.82 Kb)

Failed application redress

Please contact your local authority in the first instance.

You may appeal to a residential property tribunal.

Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Licence holder redress

Please contact your local authority in the first instance.

You may appeal to a residential property tribunal regarding conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or revoke a licence.

Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Consumer complaint

If a licence is granted and you wish to appeal against it being granted you may do so to a residential property tribunal within 28 days of the decision being made.

Other redress

For example about noise, pollution and so on. Also should one licence holder complain about another.

Trade associations

British Property Federation (BPF)

House in Multiple Occupation - new legal requirements 2018

Following the introduction of the Housing and Planning Act and proposals for changing the scope of mandatory HMO Licensing, we are expecting a lot of changes in 2018.

Below are the changes that are widely anticipated from Government and we will update this page as and when we learn more.

Proposed changes Expected new requirements

Financial penalties

Financial penalties for housing offences of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution. Offences to include: HMO licensing, breaching licence conditions or management regulations, failing to comply with legal notices. Introduced April 2017.

Rent Repayment Orders (RRO)

Tenants and Local Authorities will be able to apply to reclaim rent where there is an offence under the Housing Act 2004, breach of a banning order or unlawful eviction. There will no longer need to be a conviction for an RRO to be applied for. Introduced April 2017.

Tenancy deposit schemes (TDS) - information sharing

Local Authorities can now request information about private rented properties in their area from TDS. Councils can request rented property addresses, landlords and agents addresses and the number of deposits recorded at each address. Guidance. Introduced April 2017.

Mandatory licensing

The Government will extend the scope of mandatory HMO licensing. It will apply where certain HMOs are occupied by five persons or more in two or more households, regardless of the number of storeys. This includes any HMO which is a building or a converted flat where such householders lack or share basic amenities such as a toilet, personal washing facilities or cooking facilities. It also applies to purpose built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both are occupied as an HMO. More information. Introduced April 2018.

Bedroom minimum sizes in licensable HMOs

Minimum sizes: Single occupancy bedroom 6.51sq.m; double occupancy 10.22sq.m. No discretion and any bedrooms below these sizes will be disregarded. More information. Introduced April 2018.

Rogue Landlords database

A national database of rogue landlords. May include people/businesses convicted of offences or having received more than one financial penalty. Minimum of two years on the database. Helps Local Authorities track poor landlords who cross boundaries. More information here.

Banning Orders

Following prosecution, Local Authorities will be able to apply to the First Tier Tribunal for a landlord to be banned from acting as a landlord or agent. Banning order will last for a minimum of 12 months and breaching a banning order could result in a custodial sentence or unlimited fine. More information.

Electrical safety standards

The Government may choose to introduce electrical safety standards in all rented properties. The Government have set up a technical working group to consider this and new regulations will be needed before anything can be implemented. Announcement expected 2018. Awaiting Government update.


The Act includes measures for landlords to recover possession of abandoned properties let under ASTs where the rent is over two months’ in arrears, without a court order. Guidance for landlords and agents is expected in 2017.

Fit and proper person status

Enhanced checks may include DBS or Discloser Scotland checks for a Licence Holders. Further checks around bankruptcy and immigration status of landlords and Right to rent checks for tenants. Will require regulations. Recent government update has decided not to implement these additional checks at this current time. More information.

Client money protection (CMP)

A Working group review in March 2017 recommended that CMP is made mandatory for lettings and managing agents. Secretary of State to decide if and when to introduce.

Last updated: Thursday, 2 March 2023 10:08 am