Houses in Multiple Occupation Licence

Why do Houses in Multiple Occupation need a licence?

Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) is intended to make sure that:

  • Landlords of HMOs are fit & proper people or they employ managers who are
  • The standard of their management is adequate
  • The HMO is suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence, and
  • High risk HMOs can be identified and targeted for improvement.
Multiple Occupation Licence

Do I need a licence?

HMOs need to be licensed if they have:

  • 5 or more occupants; and
  • 2 or more households

You need a licence if you operate this type of HMO. A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a single dwelling that is occupied by three or more people living in more than one household and who share one or more basic amenities.

  • A household is defined as occupiers of the same family and includes spouses, co-habitees, same sex couples and any blood relative.
  • Basic amenities means a toilet, personal washing facilities, or cooking facilities.

This includes bedsits, houses partly converted into self-contained flats, hostels, accommodation above shops and shared houses and flats.

Houses converted to self-contained flats before 1991 and not in accordance with the 1991 Building Regulations will also be HMOs.

The one exception is that if you intend to stop operating as a HMO or are reducing the number of occupants and can give clear evidence of this, then you may apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice. This lasts for a maximum of three months and ensures that a property in the process of being converted from a HMO does not need to be licensed.

If a property you own or manage or intend to operate as a HMO needs a licence or a Temporary Exemption Notice please contact us by telephoning Housing Standards on 01283 508578 or emailing

What legislation applies?

Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004. Order 2006 No 371 specifies the main types of HMO which need a licence, the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 has extended the definition of a licensable HMO by removing the number of stories from the definition criteria.

Schedule 3 of Order 2006 No 373 sets out the standards required to make a HMO suitable for occupation by a given number of households or persons.

The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018 details some additional requirements for HMOs including minimum bedroom sizes and waste disposal facilities. 

What are the conditions for granting a licence?

A licence will be granted if the Council is satisfied:

(a) that the house is reasonably suitable for occupation by not more than the maximum number of households or persons specified in the application, or a number decided by the Council;

(b) that the proposed licence holder

(i) is a fit and proper person to be the licence holder, and

(ii) is, out of all the persons, reasonably available to be the licence holder in respect of the house, the most appropriate person to be the licence holder;

(c) that the proposed manager of the house is either—

(i) the person having control of the house, or

(ii) a person who is an agent or employee of the person having control of the house;

(d) that the proposed manager of the house is a fit and proper person to be the manager of the house; and

(e) that the proposed management arrangements for the house are otherwise satisfactory.

What are the penalties for not having a licence when required?

It is an offence not to have a licence when required and a civil penalty of up to £30,000 may be imposed.

In addition, a tenant living in a property that should have been licensed, but was not, can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal to claim back any rent they have paid during the unlicensed period (up to a limit of 12 months). The Council can also reclaim any housing benefit that has been paid during the time the property was without a licence.

How will my application be determined?

The Council will decide what conditions need to be included in the licence. Conditions that will apply to all licences are:

  • The gas safety certificate, which is renewed annually, must be provided to the Council (where the property has a mains gas supply)
  • All electrical appliances and installations provided as part of the tenancy must be in a safe condition;
  • All furniture provided as part of the tenancy must comply with the relevant regulations;
  • An automatic fire detection system is to be installed within the house and maintained in proper working order;
  • A declaration, as and when required by the Authority, as to the condition and positions of such alarms;
  • The tenants must be provided with a Tenancy Agreement

The Council 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, bathroom and toilets for example, are in good working order;
  • A requirement for specified works or repairs to be carried out within a particular timescale;
  • A requirement that the responsible person attends an approved training course

How much will it cost?

The charge for a HMO licence in East Staffordshire is subject to the number of bedrooms in the HMO.

HMO Licence Type Fee
Application for a HMO with 1-5 bedrooms £550
Application for a HMO with 6-10 bedrooms £600
Application for a HMO with 11+ bedrooms £650

How do I apply?

To apply, renew or make changes to your existing licence please complete the application form

If you need assistance with your application we are happy to help. Please contact us for free advice.

How do I pay?

Please do not send cheques or money with applications. Once a valid application has been received you will receive an invoice in the post with instructions on how to pay.

Do I need to provide further information or evidence?

There are a number of documents or evidence you will be required to submit with your application including:

  • Layout plan of the entire premises that includes room measurements and fire precautions
  • Current Gas Safety certificate
  • Current Electrical Installation Condition Report (E.I.C.R)
  • Current Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) certificate (if applicable)
  • Current Fire Alarm Test certificate
  • Current Emergency Lighting test certificate
  • Written Fire Safety Risk Assessment - click here for guidance and an example  form
  • Copy of a Tenancy Agreement
  • Proof of ownership e.g. land registry search
  • Proof of proposed licence holder's residential address e.g. utility bill
  • Proof of proposed licence holder's identity (photo ID) e.g. driving licence, passport 
  • Proof of tenants deposit placed in government protection scheme

*DO NOT provide original documents. Please provide COPIES only.

How long will it take you to process my application?

We will acknowledge your application within 7 working days and process your application within 2 months of receiving all the valid application information.

If my application is refused, how do I appeal?

Please raise any concerns with the council. However the landlord, manager or person having control of the property may appeal if the council decides to:

  • Refuse a licence
  • Grant a licence with discretionary conditions
  • Revoke a licence
  • Vary a licence
  • Refuse to vary a licence

Appeals must be made to the Residential Property Tribunal (RPT), normally within 28 days.

Planning Requirements

On the 31st of March 2022 East Staffordshire Borough Council confirmed an Article 4 direction to remove permitted development rights for changes of use between class C3 and C4 within the settlement boundary of Burton on Trent. This means that from 1st of April 2023 planning permission will be required to convert a residential dwelling in class C3 to a small house of multiple occupation (class C4).

What if I have a complaint or concern?

Please contact Environmental Health

Contact Details

Tel: (01283) 508578

Write to: Environmental Health, PO Box 8045, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 9JG

Can I view a public register of notifications online?