Private Sector Housing team - Coronavirus update
Due to Coronavirus and the Government guidance on social distancing, the Private Sector Housing team is currently operating at a reduced capacity and is actively investigating only the most serious and urgent of cases. During this time we will still work swiftly and effectively in dealing with serious cases. In the meantime, all other non-urgent matters will be logged. When normal services resume, we will look to action all logged cases and will contact you at that point. For further information, please download a copy of our private housing coronavirus guidance note from the ‘Downloads’ section. Our dedicated team will still be available on the telephone or via email should you need further advice and assistance. We wish you well at this difficult time.
Find out if you need an HMO licence and apply for it here.
Do I need a licence?
A HMO requires a mandatory property licence when all the below apply:
- it is occupied by 5 or more persons regardless of age from 2 or more households
- tenants are living in the property as their main or only residence
- there are shared facilities such as kitchen, bathroom and or toilet
Before you apply please ensure that you download, read and understand the guidance notes which can be found under Downloads which also explain what certification you need to submit with your application.
Download and complete the Houses in Multiple Occupation licence application form which can be found under Downloads. Completed application forms should be returned with the correct fee and documentation to:
City of Wolverhampton Council
St. Peter's Square
The licence fee is currently £650, but discounts are available up to a maximum of 50%. For further advice on discounts, please contact our Rent with Confidence (RWC) team on RwC@wolverhampton.gov.uk
We will acknowledge receipt of your application.
We will check to make sure that everything you have sent in is complete and correct. If so, we will arrange an inspection of the HMO with you, to let you know of any works that may be necessary before it can be licensed.
Once the HMO has been brought up to standard, we will notify you of our decision regarding issue of the licence within 28 days (a schedule 5 notice).
If you do not supply the correct information, documents or fee, your application will be rejected until the outstanding issues are resolved.
No, tacit consent will not apply. This is because it is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted.
If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, contact us as at HMOenquiries@wolverhampton.gov.uk
If you fail to apply for a licence, you could receive an unlimited fine upon prosecution and be given a criminal record or receive a civil penalty of up to £30,000 per offence and may be banned from running a rental property.
Yes. An officer will carry out a full inspection of the property with you, which will cover:
- state of repair
- provision of amenities
- level of occupation
- state of management
- fire safety measures
- the presence of any hazards under the health and safety rating system (HHSRS).
Once an application has been made the authority may either refuse to grant a licence or grant a licence, although the licence does not have to be granted to the applicant.
The application may be refused for instance where the proposed licence holder and/or manager is not deemed to be a fit and proper person, or where the proposed management arrangements for the house are deemed unsatisfactory.
Further guidance may be found under Section 64 of the Housing Act 2004.
The Housing Act 2004 provides a definition of what constitutes a HMO.
A 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 Building Regulations 1991, and at least one third of flats are occupied under short tenancies
There are six recognised categories of HMO types:
- A - Houses let as bedsits
- B - Shared houses
- C - Houses let as lodgings
- D - Hostels and bed and breakfast accommodation
- E - Residential care homes
- F - Self-contained accommodation
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:
- Single people, families, couples and same sex couples
- other relationships, such as fostering, carers and domestic staff
Further information regarding HMO's can be read in the document Houses in Multiple Occupation - Amenity and Space Standards for Licensed and Non-Licensable Houses which can be found under Downloads.
Viewing of the HMO licence register can take place by appointment at the Council offices, by emailing HMOenquiries@wolverhampton.gov.uk. Please note that we do not send out lists of our licensable HMO's and licence holder details.
What are the conditions of the licence?
You must be a fit and proper person to hold the licence. Other conditions control the way the HMO is managed, maintained and kept safe for the tenants. The HMO must be brought up to current standards before the licence can be issued.
For general best practice and guidance for landlords and managers who manage a house in multiple occupation. Please follow these links:
- Licensing of houses in multiple occupation in England: a guide for landlords and managers
- The Private Rented Property minimum standard - landlord guidance documents
Further information on documentation that the Local Authority refers to when looking at the means of escape in the event of a fire may be found at:
Please note that if you are considering changing the use of a house into a HMO you must first seek planning permission. Further information can be found here - Planning permission for Houses of Multiple Occupation.
Building regulations apply to a wide range of works relating to converting a building into a HMO or carrying out improvements to an existing one.
Examples of these works include fire and sound insulation between units of accommodation, upgrading / renewing electrical wiring and upgrading / renewing certain heating systems.
When arranging works check that your contractor is operating under an approved industry scheme or apply for the correct approval under the Building Regulations. Further information can be found here - Building Control.
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 apply to HMOs regardless of whether they are required to be licensed. They impose certain duties on managers and occupiers of such buildings. Broadly those duties include a requirement that:
- provides his or her contact details to the occupiers and displays them in the property
- keeps means of escape free from obstruction and in good repair and maintains firefighting equipment and alarms
- ensures that the occupiers of the HMO are not injured because of its design and condition
- ensures there is suitable drainage from the HMO and a suitable water supply which is not unreasonably interrupted
- provides annual gas safety certificates (if gas is supplied) to the council when requested
- carries out safety checks on electrical installations every five years
- ensures the supply of gas (if any) and electricity is not unreasonably interrupted
- keeps in repair and good condition the property (including any fixtures and fittings within it)
- maintains any shared garden and keeps in repair any structures belonging to the HMO
- keeps in repair the occupiers’ living accommodation within the HMO, including fixtures and fittings
- provides suitable facilities for the disposal of rubbish
- Do nothing to stop or prevent the manager from carrying out his or her duties
- take reasonable care not to damage anything for which the manager is responsible
- dispose of rubbish in accordance with the arrangements made by the manager
- comply with reasonable instructions relating to fire safety
The “manager” in these regulations includes the landlord or a person responsible for the management of the HMO.
To find out more about houses in multiple occupation licences, contact us at HMOenquiries@wolverhampton.gov.uk.