The Housing Act 2004 made it mandatory for Houses in Multiple Occupation to be licenced. The aim of HMO licensing is to ensure that the highest risk properties in the private rental market are identified, meet legal standards and are properly managed.
An HMO licence is required if:
- the property is occupied by 5 or more people, from more than one ‘household’; and
- they share basic amenities such as a toilet, bathroom, or kitchen facilities.
- A purpose built flat in a block with 5 occupants will also require a licence if there are less than 3 flats in the building.
A household is a family, cohabiting couple, relatives or separate individuals. As an example, four friends are four households, even if they share a tenancy. A cohabiting couple with a child is one household.
For further information see the HMO Guidance for Local Housing Authorities.
If you need a licence and do not have one, it is an offence which could result in the Council issuing a civil penalty of up to £30,000, or taking a prosecution in the Magistrates Court, which could result in an unlimited fine. Other sanctions are also available, such as Rent Repayment Orders which may require the landlord to repay up to 12 months’ rent, and banning orders preventing the owner from letting or managing property.
HMO licences are not transferable. If the licence holder or ownership changes, a new licence application with the new licence holder details will be required.
How to apply for an HMO Licence
If your property requires a licence, you should apply now. If you are unsure, please contact us to confirm.
You must complete the application form available below, pay the fee and provide the following:
- a layout plan of the property, indicating the layout, position and use of each room, room number, room sizes/measurements. Indicate position of all fire safety measures, such as smoke alarms and/or heat detectors, fire doors, emergency lighting and fire control panel.
- a current satisfactory electrical installation condition report for the property provided by a competent person with qualifications such as NICEIC or NAPIT, issued within the last 5 years.
- a current satisfactory Landlords Gas Safety Certificate (if there is a gas supply) issued within the last 12 months.
- a current Inspection and Test Certificate for the emergency lighting system under BS 5266 issued within the last 12 months, where applicable.
- a current Inspection and Test Certificate for the Automatic Fire Detection system under BS 5839 issued within the last 12 months, where applicable.
- a current Portable appliance Test Certificate for any portable electrical appliances that you supply for your tenants to use.
- additional information where yes is answered in the Fit and Proper Persons section of the application form.
All the information required above, including a fully completed application form and fee must be submitted before your application is considered valid and complete.
Failure to provide all the information may result in your application being rejected and leave you open to enforcement action.
To apply for an HMO licence, please complete one of the appropriate forms for your geographical area:
The correct fee must be paid before your application is valid.
The fee is payable in two parts:
- Part one is payable when you submit your application, and covers the cost of processing the licence. It is non-refundable if the application is not successful or if you withdraw.
- Part two is payable when we confirm we will issue a licence to you for your property.
|HMO Licensing fees||Fee|
|New HMO Licence (5 bed max) |
|Renewal HMO Licence (5 bed max) |
|Additional Room over five (per room)||£34|
When we confirm your application is successful, we’ll issue a licence and you should then pay part two of the fee. At the part two stage, extra charges for additional households are applied.
We will issue a licence If we are satisfied that:
- the property is reasonably suitable for the number of people allowed and meets our minimum standards for toilets, bathrooms, kitchen facilities etc
- there are adequate management arrangements in place
- there are adequate finances to manage the property
- we consider you to be ‘fit and proper’
- we consider the manager, if there is one, to be ‘fit and proper’ and competent
In deciding whether a person is ‘fit and proper’, we will take into account:
- any previous convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs, fraud and discrimination
- any previous breaches of housing or landlord and tenant laws
- any breaches of HMO approved codes of practice
Once issued, a licence will last for up to a maximum of 5 years. It will usually be the case that licences will be issued for 5 years from the date of application or renewal date. However, licences may be issued for shorter periods appropriate to the circumstances of the case. For example, the duration of the licence may be shortened where the Council has reasonable evidence that the property should have already been licenced or there is concern about the management/condition of the property. No reduction in fee will apply.
HMO Licensing standards and conditions
There are mandatory conditions attached to all licences and the council can attach certain conditions to a licence, which are specific to the property.
- HMO Licensing conditions – these will be tailored to the individual HMO.
- HMO Licensing standards – this is a guide to the standards required in all licensable HMOs and will be applied on a property specific basis.
Licensing conditions may relate to the HMO Licensing standards, property specific requirements and mandatory conditions imposed by legislation. They are designed to ensure the property is safe, well managed and meets the welfare needs of the occupants.
Where you are unhappy with any elements of your licence or if we refuse to issue a licence, then you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
We will visit your property to ensure these conditions are being met and that there are no serious hazards as identified in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
Minimum bedroom sizes
Licences issued from the 1st October 2018 will have minimum room sizes for rooms used as sleeping accommodation. These are in addition to locally set minimum room sizes.
A room smaller than the specified size must not be used as sleeping accommodation. Government Guidance is available here: HMO licensing reforms.
The minimum sleeping room sizes are:
- 6.51 mSq for one person over 10 years of age
- 10.22 mSq for two persons over 10 years of age
- 4.64 mSq for one child under the age of 10 years
- 1.5 m minimum ceiling height. Any area of the room where the ceiling height is less is not counted.
These minimum sizes do not apply to charities providing night shelters or temporary accommodation for people suffering or recovering from drug or alcohol abuse or mental disorders.
Any room of less than 4.64 mSq may not be used as sleeping accommodation. Landlords will need to notify the Council of any room used for sleeping with a floor area of less than 4.64 mSq.
We will visit your property to ensure all conditions are being met and that there are no serious hazards as identified in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
Public register of licenced HMOs
All licenced HMOs are required by law to appear on a public register which will include details of the licenced property and the licence holder and manager.
Public registers are available by area:
- Somerset West and Taunton
- South Somerset
- For a copy of the Mendip area HMO public register, please email PSH_Enquiries@mendip.gov.uk.