Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

If you rent out a property as a house in multiple occupation (HMO), you may require a licence from us.

A HMO is a house which is occupied by people who do not form a single household, and who may share one or more of the home’s facilities.

Examples include:

  • bedsits
  • flats
  • shared houses
  • some properties occupied by students

The Housing Act 2004 introduced a mandatory licensing scheme for larger HMOs to improve controls and conditions within these high risk dwellings.

The act also allows selective licensing of other smaller properties in certain designated areas. We’re not currently operating this additional scheme in Newark and Sherwood. 

Apply online for a house in multiple occupation licence.

The application and consultation period lasts two to three months. If you have not heard anything in three to four weeks from the date of your application, please contact us.

Which properties need a licence?

A property is likely to require a licence if all of the following applies:

  • it has shared facilities, such as kitchens, common rooms or bathrooms
  • it is not owned by a housing association or registered social landlord (RSL)

After receiving your application, we’ll usually carry out a visit to assess the property under the housing health and safety rating system. This is to check whether there are any hazards that require action, and that the property meets certain standards in its facilities and amenities.

The licence gives the holder permission to operate the HMO for which the licence is held. The licence cannot be transferred to another person or relate to more than one property. HMO licences can last up to five years and have ongoing conditions to be met.

Planning permission

Some larger houses also require planning permission. For further advice contact the Council or find out more about planning permission on the HMO Hub website.

Fire safety in HMOs

Fire safety is an important factor when assessing the standards present in HMOs. Landlords must ensure they provide an adequate fire detection system, fire separation and emergency lighting provisions.

For more information, read the national guidance on how to keep residential buildings safe from fire and how to carry out a fire risk assessment.

Application evaluation process

Licences will be granted if we’re satisfied that:

  • the landlord is a ‘fit and proper person’ i.e. that they are a good landlord who complies with all necessary regulations
  • the property is suitable for occupation by the number of persons specified in the licence
  • the landlord has suitable management arrangements in place
  • the property is being kept to the required standards and there are adequate means of escape if there's a fire

Failed applications

If you have any complaints, please contact us in the first instance. You can appeal to a Residential Property Tribunal. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.