Search site

Houses in Multiple Occupation

Craven District Council is committed to protecting the health, safety and welfare of all residents who live in 'Houses in Multiple Occupation'.

What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

The Housing Act 2004 introduced a new definition of what constitutes a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

An HMO means a building (or part of a building, such as a flat), that:

  • Is occupied by more than one household and where more than one household shares, or lacks an amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities.
  • Is occupied by more than one household and which is a converted building, but not entirely into self contained flats (whether or not some amenities are shared or lacking).
  • Is converted self contained flats, but does not meet as a minimum standard the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations, and at least one third of flats are occupied under short tenancies.

The building may be occupied by more than one household:

  • As their only or main residence
  • As a refuge of people escaping domestic violence
  • By students during term time
  • For other purposes prescribed by the Government

Persons do not form a single household unless they are members of the same family or they form a prescribed relationship defined by regulations. A household refers to:

  • families, including single people, couples and same sex couples
  • other relationships, such as fostering, carers and domestic staff

We ensure that these premises are fit for occupation and suitable for the numbers of people intending to live in them.

We achieve this by:

  • Responding to complaints
  • Revisiting premises to ensure that work has been carried out and standards are being maintained
  • Viewing planning applications

House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) Licence

If you rent out a property for multiple occupation, you may require a licence from us.

Why is HMO Licensing needed?

Larger HMO s, such as bed sits and shared houses, may have poorer physical and management standards than other privately rented properties.

As HMO s are the only housing option for many people, the government recognises that it is vital that they are properly regulated.

Licensing is intended to ensure that:

  • Landlords of HMO s are 'fit and proper people', or employ managers who are
  • Each HMO is suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence
  • The standard of management of the HMO is adequate
  • High risk HMO s can be identified and targeted for improvement

Where landlords refuse to meet these criteria the Council can intervene and manage the property so that:

  • Vulnerable tenants can be protected
  • HMO s are not overcrowded

Which HMO s need to be Licensed?

Compulsory (required by law) licensing of HMO s affects properties that:

  • are three or more storey s high, and
  • have five or more people in more than one household and
  • share amenities such as bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities.

Apply for a licence

If you believe you require a licence please contact us to arrange an advisory inspection before issuing you with a license application form.

After an application for a licence, a notice of proposal will be sent to interested parties in the property (such as owners/mortgagee/freeholder etc), giving them 14 days to pass comment, or object to the conditions of the licence. A formal licence will be given after the time has elapsed.

No automatic consent is given if the applicant is not contacted within a certain time period.

How much will it cost to apply?

For a new 5 yearly licence or renewal the fee is £390.00

Alterations will be charged at £50.00

Criteria for granting a licence

  • The proposed licence holder (which can be the landlord or managing agent) are 'fit and proper' people
  • The property and the tenancy are managed appropriately
  • The accommodation meets all minimum standards such as sufficient number of toilets, kitchens and bathrooms for the number of residents

Licences may be issued with certain conditions attached.

Complaints

If you have a complaint about a HMO, an appeal to a revoked licence or failed application, then please contact us using the details below.

Anyone who owns or manages an HMO that must be licensed has to apply to the council for a licence.

The council must give a licence if it is satisfied that:

  • The HMO is reasonably suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence
  • The proposed licence holder is a fit and proper person
  • The proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • The proposed manager, if there is one, is a 'fit and proper person'
  • The proposed management arrangements are satisfactory
  • The person involved in the management of the HMO is competent
  • The financial structures for the management are suitable

The Meaning of Fit and Proper Person

The council has to be satisfied that the person applying for the licence is a fit and proper person.

In deciding whether someone is fit and proper the council must take into account:

  • Any previous convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs and fraud
  • Whether the proposed licence holder has broken any laws relating to housing or landlord and tenant issues
  • Whether the person has been found guilty of unlawful discrimination
  • Whether the person has previously managed HMOs that have broken any approved code of practice

It is advisable for the landlord or manager to be a member of a professionally recognised body, or an approved landlords association that is affiliated to the National Federation of Residential Landlords.

The licence will specify the maximum number of people who may live in an HMO. It will also include conditions concerning the following, which apply to every licence:

  • a valid current gas safety certificate, which is renewed annually, must be provided
  • all electrical appliances and furniture are kept in a safe condition
  • all smoke alarms are correctly positioned and installed
  • each occupier must have a written statement of the terms on which they occupy the property, for example, a tenancy agreement

Councils 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 timeframe
  • a requirement that the responsible person attends an approved training course


Duration and Cost of a Licence 2014 - 2015 Licence Fees

A licence will normally last for a maximum of five years, although it can be for a shorter period. Landlords will have to pay a fee to cover the costs of the licence procedure.

Refusal of Licence

The council has powers to refuse a licence, if the property does not meet its conditions and the landlord or manager is not a fit and proper person.

If a landlord fails to bring an HMO up to the required standard, or fails to meet the fit and proper person criteria, the council can issue an Interim Management Order (IMO), which allows it to step in and manage the property. The owner keeps their rights as an owner. This order can last for a year until suitable permanent management arrangements can be made.

If the IMO expires and there has been no improvement, then the council can issue a Final Management Order. This can last up to five years and can be renewed.

Rights of Appeal

The landlord may appeal if the council decides to:

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

The appeal must be to the First-tier Tribunal, normally within 28 days.

The First-tier Tribunal  website is http://www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals/property-chamber


Temporary Exemption from Licensing

If a landlord or person in control of a property intends to stop operating it as an HMO or reduces the number of occupants and can give clear evidence of this, then he or she can 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 an HMO does not need to be licensed.

If the situation is not resolved, then a second Temporary Exemption Notice can be issued.

When this runs out the property must be licensed, become subject to an Interim Management Order, or cease to be an HMO.

For further information on multiple occupancy homes please contact us.

Advice and information for landlords in the Harrogate area on the requirements of the Housing Act 2004 and licensing of houses in multiple occupation.

Why is HMO licensing needed?

Larger HMOs, such as bedsits and shared houses, may have poorer physical and management standards than other privately rented properties.

As HMOs are the only housing option for many people, the government recognises that it is vital that they are properly regulated.

Licensing is intended to ensure that:

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

Where landlords refuse to meet these criteria the council can intervene and manage the property so that:

  • Vulnerable tenants can be protected
  • HMOs are not overcrowded

Which HMOs need to be licensed?

Compulsory (required by law) licensing of HMOs affects properties that:

  • are three or more storeys high, and
  • have five or more people in more than one household and
  • share amenities such as bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities.