Do I need a HMO 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
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.
A non-Licensable HMO is when the property has 3 or 4 tenants from more than one household and they share facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom. This does not require a HMO Licence. If the HMO contains 5 or more tenants in the property, the property must have a HMO Licence from the Council and you would need to apply immediately.
If you are still unsure of whether your HMO requires a Licence or not, please contact us on HMOenquiries@wolverhampton.gov.uk.
Landlords of non-Licensable HMO's are urged to follow counsel given in the Space and Amenity Standards as a code of good practice. This is to reduce the chance of any contraventions being made under Section 234 of the Housing Act 2004. Any HMOs that are not Licensable should follow the Management Regulations and Fire Safety Regulations.
You will need access to a desktop computer, laptop or mobile device and connection to the Internet to complete your application. For the best user experience we recommend using a desktop computer or laptop.
Please note that Internet Explorer is no longer supported. The application must be accessed using an alternative browser.
The application form can be used for both new HMO licence applications and renewals.
We require supporting documentation to be uploaded at the end of the application and therefore, you will need access to a smartphone to take clear images of the documents required or a scanner. You would also require access to a printer to complete our fit and proper questionnaire and application declaration which must be hand signed.
Before you begin your application you will be required to register on our ‘My Account’ system or log in if you already have an active account.
Fee 1 - Application processing and a determination fee will need to be paid on submission of the application and this will need to be made by credit or debit card via sage pay.
Fee 2 - Licence scheme operation and enforcement fee will be requested once we are happy to grant the licence you will be advised of how to pay this.
Other payment methods may be available please contact us at HMOenquiries@wolverhampton.gov.uk for more information.
Notify us if you wish to change the existing manager of a licensed house in multiple occupation.
Notify us if the licence holder or manager has changed their residential or business address.
Notify us if you have sold a property or if you wish to close a mandatory licence.
Notify us if you have control of a house in multiple occupation and need take steps to take the property out of the licensable criteria for a short term.
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
- Renting out your property
The Council has reviewed the costs it incurs in administering and issuing HMO licence applications. The new fees have been implemented from the 1st June 2021. This is in accordance with the Local Government Association ‘Open for business – LGA Guidance on locally set licence fees’. This sets out the principle that licence fees should be charged in two parts.
The license fee is payable in two parts as follows:
Fee 1 - Application processing and determination fee is charged at the time of application. This is for processing the application up to the grant or refusal of the licence application.
Fee 2 – Licence scheme operation and enforcement fee is charged at the point of granting the licence. This is for administering and enforcing the licensing scheme.
Discounts available on HMO licence fees linked to Rent With Confidence star ratings were stopped on the 31st May 2021. There are no HMO licence fee discounts available.
All HMO applications will need to made using the online portal which can be accessed under ‘How do I apply?’
|Fee 1 – Application processing and determination fee||
Covers costs relating to the processing of an application for an HMO up to 6 bedrooms, up to and including the decision to grant or decline.
Add on costs Fee 1 Application processing and determination fee
7 to 10 bedroom
11 to 20 bedroom
21 to 30 bedroom
31 to 40 bedroom
41 to 50 bedroom
For each incremental 10 bedrooms ie up to 60, 70, 80, 90 rooms etc.
For each disused room in the HMO building not forming part of HMO but within the building.
Commercial areas within HMO building?
Fee 2 - Licence scheme operation and enforcement fee
Covers all costs after granting of the licence, including costs during the life of the licence and costs associated with enforcement of the scheme.
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.
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.
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.