Houses in multiple occupation HMO

Licensing criteria

What criteria must an HMO meet for it to be licensed?

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

What is meant by ‘reasonably suitable for occupation'?

For an HMO to be reasonable suitable for occupation for a certain number of people, it must adhere to the following standards (these are outlined in the recently drafted Government guidelines):

  • number, type and quality of bathrooms, toilets, washbasins and showers
  • number, type and quality of food storage, preparation and cooking facilities
  • suitable fire precautions

What does a ‘fit and proper person’ mean?

The Council will carry out checks to make sure 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

Last updated: 27 October 2021