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Houses in Multiple Occupation

The local authority's requirements in respect of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are complex and dependant upon the precise nature of the property in question and the way in which it is occupied. Accordingly, definitive details of what is needed to ensure the health and safety of the occupants can only be determined by an inspection.

Applying to licence an HMO

As of 6 April 2006 certain types of HMO, regarded as being higher risk, have had to be licensed by the local authority. These properties consist of three storeys or more, have five or more occupants, living as two or more households, with some degree of sharing of facilities.

There are substantial penalties, upon conviction, for the owners of licensable HMOs who continue to operate without a licence.

The legislation allows for a one-off fee to be charged for the initial licence, which will last for five years. The current charge is £387 for a first property and £356 for each and every subsequent property in the same ownership. A renewal of an HMO licence is £356.

Any queries concerning HMOs generally and licensing in particular should be directed to Julian Watts, Senior Environmental Health Officer, Private Sector Housing on 01233 330339 or email julian.watts@ashford.gov.uk

To apply for a licence or 'variation of licence' you will be required to complete an application form. We do, however, advise that you speak to an officer before returning the application. Download the HMO Licence Application/Variation of licence form and notes [doc] 1135KB.

Mandatory licensing of HMOs

In 1997 central government committed itself to providing greater protection for the health, safety and welfare of the occupants of HMOs. HMOs are often occupied by some of the most vulnerable people in society. The resultant improved regime is contained within the Housing Act 2004.

The 2004 Act defines HMOs as comprising houses, hostels, self-contained flats, or other relevant buildings, that are occupied by persons who do not form a single household, where there is a degree of sharing of facilities, for example for cooking, or where the housing lacks such facilities, or is not self-contained.

If you would like to request a safety inspection for an HMO, you can do so on the Request A Safety Inspection For HMO page.

The council has produced a standards book for Houses of Multiple Occupation [pdf] 1853KB.

The Public Register of Houses of Multiple Occupation is currently licenced by Ashford Borough Council. View the HMO Public Register [xlsx] 13KB/

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