The District Council is responsible for enforcing housing standards in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
The Housing Act 2004 has introduced a new definition of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). The new definition is detailed and complex. Generally, a HMO is a property occupied by more than one household and more than two people, and may include bedsits, shared houses and some self contained flats.
Houses fully converted into self contained flats will generally not be HMOs provided that they were/are converted in accordance with the appropriate Building Regulation standards. A licensable HMO is one that (other than those that are exempt from licensing/ definition and converted blocks) comprises three or more storeys and is occupied by five or more people, who comprise two or more households. A licence is valid for 5 years from the date of issue.
In order for a property to be licensed, the property and the landlord must meet certain criteria. Checks are undertaken on the suitability of the landlord/managing agent and the property will be inspected by an Environmental Health Officer. This inspection covers the general condition of the property under the Housing, Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS), fire safety (e.g. smoke detection, escape routes) and the provision of amenities (e.g. kitchens, bathrooms). Further information on licensing and HMO's is available from Communities and Local Government.
For further information on the definition of a HMO, for clarification if your property should be licensed and for an application pack please contact the Environmental Health section. The current charge for a license application is £395 (2012/13).
If you are a tenant and you wish to know if a property is licensed, or if you have concerns about the condition of your accommodation, please contact the District Council using the details below. The District Council has enforcement powers to require a landlord to carry out necessary repairs or remedial action in all private rented accommodation.