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Houses In Multiple Occupation

We have many different responsibilities with regards to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO). These vary based on the way the property is occupied. We have to carry out an inspection to determine what is needed to ensure the health and safety of the occupants.

Applying to Licence a HMO

From the 1 October 2018, all HMOs with five or more people comprising of two or more family units will require a licence to operate. 

Previously an HMO licence was only required for properties with three or more floors. The main change has been the removal of the number of floors from the HMO definition. Properties with one or two floors, including bedsits, must now be licensed as well. Properties above commercial buildings (such as shops and restaurants) must also be licensed.

Download our guide to standards for Houses of Multiple Occupation [pdf] 240KB.

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

There is only one set fee for HMO licensing this includes new licences and renewals. The charge for an HMO licence from 1 April 2022 is £802. Any queries concerning HMOs and licensing should be directed to privatesectorhousing@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 [docx] 193KB.

Once you have completed your application form, you will need to make an online payment.

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. As a result, an improved regime was added to 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. There will be a degree of sharing facilities, for example for cooking, or where the housing lacks such facilities, or is not self-contained.

New legislation was introduced on 1 October 2018 regarding minimum space standards for bedrooms:

  • Rooms sleeping one adult must be no smaller than 6.51m²;
  • Any rooms sleeping two adults must be no smaller than 10.22m²;
  • Rooms slept in by children aged 10 or younger must be no smaller than 4.64m².

Where minimum space standards are not being met, landlords will be given 18 months to put things right. They must also provide appropriate bins to store and dispose of household waste from the property.

Converted blocks of flats that fall within the definition of HMO will not be subject to mandatory licensing. However, they will if there are any facilities, such as kitchens and bathrooms, which are shared or not fully self-contained.

Visit our Request A Safety Inspection For HMO page to request an inspection.

HMO Public Register

The Public Register of Houses of Multiple Occupation is currently licensed by Ashford Borough Council. View our Licences Issued page.