On the February 23, 2018, The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 was laid before Parliament. This Order removed the number of storeys from the licensable HMO definition criteria, so that both two and single storey properties and a purpose built self-contained flat situated in a block comprising of no more than two self-contained flats, will now also require a licence where they are occupied by 5 or more persons, living in two or more separate households, with the sharing of amenities.
The Order came into force on October 1, 2018, it is expected that applications to licence properties subject to the Order, will have been made before this date. For further advice please contact the HMO team, on email@example.com.
How do I apply?
Before you apply please ensure that you download, read and understand the guidance notes below which also explains what certification you need to submit with your application.
Download the Houses in Multiple Occupation licence application form.
Completed application forms should be returned with the correct fee and documentation to:
City of Wolverhampton Council
St. Peter's Square
Do I need a licence?
A HMO requires a mandatory property licence when all of 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
Definition of a HMO
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 Houses in Multiple Occupation - Amenity and Space Standards for Licensed and Non-Licensable Houses.
Register of HMO Licences
Viewing of the HMO licence register can take place by appointment at the Council offices, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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
How will you process my application?
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.
Will tacit consent apply?
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 email@example.com
Penalties for not having the correct licence
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.
Will my premises be inspected or assessed?
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).
What grounds may an application be refused
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.
Landlords best practice
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 makes reference to when looking at the means of escape in the event of a fire may be found at:
To find out more about houses in multiple occupation licences, contact us at HMOenquiries@wolverhampton.gov.uk.