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Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a house which is occupied by people who do not form a single household. This includes:

  • a house let as individual bedsitting rooms
  • a group of rooms on each floor let to single occupants
  • hostels, some hotels and guesthouses
  • lodgings and shared houses
  • houses converted into self-contained flats

HMO Public Register

By law we must maintain a register of all properties that have a valid HMO licence.

If you would like to view the full version of the register you can do at the address below. Please email us at [email protected] in advance to arrange a time to view it. If you would like copies of any of the information we may make a small charge.

The Guildhall
St Giles Square
Northampton

If you suspect a property is being used as a house of multiple occupation that is not included on the register please report it to us so we can investigate.

Applications and Policies

Until unified conditions are in place across West Northamptonshire, the local conditions of the former District and Borough councils apply.

Apply for a licence

To make a licence application, please complete an application form. If you don't already have an account you'll need to register by clicking on the ‘Apply for a HMO Licence’ link below. This will enable you to begin your application and save an incomplete form and come back to it later.

Licence holders and managers (if identified) can be the landlord, manager or another person/body who has control of the property. They must:

  • be over 18 years old
  • pass the 'fit and proper person' test
  • not live abroad
  • not be in prison

If any of the above apply, then another person/body will need to be appointed as the licence holder and manager (if identified).

Your password:

  • must be at least 10 characters long
  • will be case sensitive
  • must contain at least
    • one lowercase letter
    • one uppercase letter
    • one number

When the online application is complete you will need to pay by credit or debit card.

While the procedures required to issue a licence are fairly lengthy, we have tried to make the application process as easy as possible to understand.  Please refer to the NBC HMO Application Guidance Notes for further assistance:

Standards

We have produced a guide to assist owners, agents and occupiers in relation to the standards a property should meet when operating as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

A house in multiple occupations (HMO) must have a licence if it meets the following criteria:

  • It is occupied by five or more people
  • Those occupants form two or more households

A licence will be granted where the:

  • house or flat in question is reasonably suitable for occupation by the intended number of occupants
  • proposed licence-holder and manager are fit and proper persons
  • applicant is the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • manager is either the person having control or an agent or employee of the person having control

The License fee for an application that usually lasts for five years and is not transferable will be charged in two sections Part A and Part B. Part B has a standard charge but any additional charges or reductions will be calculated at this point and the final amount will be sent to you along with the Notice of intention to grant a license.

  • Part A must be paid when you make the application. The Part A fee can only cover costs associated with the application process costs. West Northamptonshire Council has calculated the average costs associated with processing the application up to and including the issue of intention to grant a licence (or refuse to grant a licence). This cost has been set at £560.00 per application for both new applications and renewals.
  • Part B must be paid when you are sent the “notice of intention to grant a licence”. The Part B fee covers ongoing scheme application, operation of the scheme and enforcement costs. West Northamptonshire Council has calculated the average costs associated with ongoing operation and enforcement of the scheme. This cost has been set at £735.00 per application for both new applications and renewals

Your application is not “duly made” until both fees are paid. Your license will not be issued until The Part B fee is paid.

Other charges or reductions that may be included in the Part B payment

  • each additional person above five people for maximum occupation £41.00
  • supported application process £99.00
  • pre-application inspection of the property £198.00
  • missed / cancelled inspection £99.00
  • HMO licence - Copy of licence £42.24

It is an offence not to licence an HMO that is licensable or to not comply with licence conditions.

For more information see:

and the legislative information.

Exemptions

Certain types of buildings are not defined as HMOs and therefore do not need to be licensed. These are defined in Schedule 14 of the Housing Act 2004.

  • buildings that are managed by public sector bodies, including local housing authority, non-profit registered provider of social housing, a health service body etc.
  • buildings controlled and managed by a co-operative society
  • buildings occupied by students and the person managing or having control is the educational establishment which the students attend
  • buildings occupied by religious communities
  • buildings occupied by owners
  • buildings occupied by two persons

Variation of a HMO licence  

If there has been a material change in circumstances at a property which currently holds a HMO licence a variation in licence may be required. It will be necessary to apply for a variation where the licence holder proposes to increase the permitted occupancy. There is no fee for the variation of an existing licence

Licences are not transferable and if the owners of the property have changed then a new licence application is required.

Use this form to tell us about:

  • a change of address, or a new manager appointed
  • a property being altered or extended and permitted number of occupants increased; or
  •  a variation due to policy or legislation changes

Please return the completed form to [email protected]

Charges

The Private Sector Housing fees and charges policy contains information on which licence fee is applicable to your application.

Schedule 1 – Mandatory Conditions

These conditions are required to be included in all HMO licences by Section 67 and Schedule 4 of the Housing Act 2004 (as amended).

1. Occupancy of the HMO

The Licence Holder must ensure that:

  1. The HMO and each room therein are not used as sleeping accommodation by more than the maximum number of occupiers specified in the table below.
  2. Only those rooms specified as ‘bedroom’ in the table below are used as sleeping accommodation.

Maximum number of occupants for HMO

FloorLocationUseSize (Sq m)Max. over 10 yearsMax. under 10 yearsMax.
GroundFront left
Rear right
Front right
Bedroom
Kitchen/Diner
Bedroom
    
FirstFront left
Front middle left
Front middle right
Rear right
Bedroom
Bedroom
Bedroom
    
SecondFront left
Front right
Bedroom
Bedroom
    

With respect to the minimum floor area of any room within the HMO used as sleeping accommodation, the Licence Holder must further ensure that any:

  • bedroom used by one person aged over 10 years is 6.51sqm or greater
  • bedroom used by two persons aged over 10 years is 10.22sqm or greater
  • bedroom used by one person aged under 10 years is 4.64sqm or greater
  • room with a floor area less than 4.64sqm is not used as sleeping accommodation

The Licence Holder must notify the Authority of any room in the HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64 square meters.

Any areas with ceiling height of less than 1.5 metres are discounted when measuring the floor area of a room.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence
Authority:: The Housing Act 2004, Schedule 4 Paragraph 1A (as amended)

2. Household waste and recycling - Storage facilities

The Licence Holder must ensure that suitable and sufficient facilities are provided at the HMO for the storage of household waste and recycling pending collection. The number and type of containers must be adequate for the requirements of each household and provided in accordance with the Council’s waste and recycling policies and guidance.

Completion:: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence
Authority:: The Housing Act 2004, Schedule 4 Paragraph 1C (as amended)

3. Household waste and recycling - Information to occupiers

The Licence Holder must ensure that suitable instructions are given to all occupiers regarding the correct use of all waste and recycling containers. In particular, the following information must be provided to all occupiers upon their moving into the HMO:

  • The number and colour of bins at the property and the types of waste which should be placed into each bin
  • Where and when each bin should be stored, placed for collection, and returned after collection
  • A notice clearly summarising this information must be prominently displayed within the HMO

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence
Authority: The Housing Act 2004, Schedule 4 Paragraph 1C (as amended)

4. Furniture safety

All furniture made available to the occupants of the house must be kept in a safe condition and must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. On demand, the Licence Holder must submit a declaration concerning the safety of the furniture
to us.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence
Authority: Paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 4 and Section 67(1)(b) of the Housing Act 2004

5. Carbon Monoxide Alarms

A carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in any room in the house which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. The Licence Holder must keep all alarms in proper working order and supply the authority, on demand, with a declaration by him as to the condition and positioning of any such alarm. A ‘room’ includes a hall or landing and ‘living accommodation’ includes a bathroom or toilet.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence
Authority: Paragraph 1 of Schedule 4 of the Housing Act 2004, as amended by the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

6. Fire Alarms

The Licence Holder must ensure that a smoke alarm is installed on each storey of the house on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation, and such other additional alarms are provided as determined by risk assessment. The licence holder must keep all alarms in proper working order and supply the authority, on demand, with a declaration by him as to the condition and positioning of any such alarm. A ‘room’ includes a hall or landing and ‘living accommodation’ includes a bathroom or toilet.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence
Authority: Paragraph 1 of Schedule 4 (Housing Act 2004), as amended by the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015; Section 67(1)(b) of the Housing Act 2004

7. Written terms of occupancy

Supply the occupiers of the house, on commencement of their occupancy, with a written statement of the terms in which they occupy the house. The Licence Holder must, on demand, provide us with a copy of the written statement.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence
Authority: Paragraph 1(5) of Schedule 4 (Housing Act 2004)

8. Electrical appliance safety

Keep all electrical appliances made available to the occupants in a safe condition. On demand, the Licence Holder must submit a declaration by him as to the safety of such appliances. If a portable appliance is more than twelve (12) months old obtain for that appliance a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) certificate issued by a competent person. A portable appliance is any electrical item that can be moved, including larger items, eg fridges.

Portable items generally have a cable and a plug. For more information on PAT refer to the HSE leaflet INDG236 "Maintaining portable electrical appliances in low-risk environments." Provide a copy of the PAT certificate to the Council on demand.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence
Authority: Paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 4 and Section 67(1)(b) of the Housing Act 2004

9. Landlord's Gas Safety Certificate - Submit annually

If gas is supplied to the house, each year the Licence Holder must obtain and submit to us a new landlord's gas safety certificate issued by a recognised engineer approved under Regulation 3 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Completion: A copy of the certificate must be submitted to us within one month of the previous certificate expiring, or on demand. This must be complied with from the date of the Licence.
Authority:Paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 4 (Housing Act 2004)

10. Electrical Safety Certificate - Submit on expiry

The licence holder must ensure that every electrical installation in the house is in proper working order and safe for continued use; and at least every five (5) years, obtain and submit an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) for the whole of the electrical installations within the house detailing the condition of the fixed electrical installation.

Carry out any C1/C2 or FI remedial works or further investigations that are identified on the report and submit evidence to the Council upon completion of the required works within 28 days or less if specified within the report.

The inspection, report and all electrical work must be undertaken in accordance with the latest edition of the IEE Regulations (BS7671) by a qualified person.

Completion: A copy of the certificate must be submitted to the Council within one (1) month of the previous certificate expiring, or on demand. This must be complied with from the date of the Licence.

Authority:The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020

Schedule 2 – Discretionary Conditions (General)

These conditions are included in all HMO licences issued by South Northamptonshire Council to ensure the effective management of all licensed HMOs across the district.

1. Fire Alarm Test Certificate - Submit annually

At least annually, obtain and submit a certificate or declaration stating that the fire alarm system in the property has been tested and maintained in good working order in accordance with the relevant provisions of BS 5839.

Completion: A copy of the certificate must be submitted to us within one month of the previous certificate expiring, or on demand. This must be complied with from the date of the Licence.
Authority: The Housing Act 2004 Section 67(1)(b)

2. Fire risk assessment

The Licence Holder must ensure a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment which meets all requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is in place for the HMO. A copy of the fire risk assessment must be provided to us on demand.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence.
Authority: Section 67(1)(a) of the Housing Act 2004; the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

3. Inventory of house contents and statement of condition

Supply the occupiers of the house, on the commencement of their occupancy, with a written

  • inventory of the contents of the house or letting, and
  • statement of the condition of each room, and its fittings.

The Licence Holder must, on demand, provide us with a copy of these documents.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence.
Authority: Section 67(1)(b) of the Housing Act 2004

4. Manager's details

The Licence Holder must display, in a prominent position within the house, a notice containing the name, address and telephone contact number of the person who manages the house.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence.
Authority: The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 Regulation 3

5. Display a copy of the licence

The Licence Holder must prominently display a copy of the HMO Licence in the house. It shall be located adjacent to the Notice containing the name, address and telephone contact number of the person who manages the house.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence.
Authority: Section 67(1)(a) of the Housing Act 2004

6. Fire notices

Provide a notice informing occupants about what to do in the event of a fire. The notice shall be prominently displayed and located adjacent to the Notice containing the name, address and telephone contact number of the person who manages the house.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence.
Authority: The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006, Paragraph 5 of Schedule 3

7. Keep fire escape route clear

Ensure that all fire escape routes are maintained clear of obstructions, storage and potential sources of ignition.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence.
Authority: The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006, Regulation 4(1)(a)

8. Changes to address details

The Licence Holder must advise us in writing of any permanent change to the address or contact details of each person (except any mortgage provider) named on the licence application form.

Completion: This must be done within one month of a permanent change occurring
Authority: Section 67(1)(a) of the Housing Act 2004

9. Changes within the house

The Licence Holder must advise us in writing of any change in the house (apart from the change of occupants) that is likely to affect the operation or management of the HMO.

Completion: This must be done within one month of the change occurring
Authority: Section 67(1)(a) of the Housing Act 2004

10. Changes to personal circumstances

The Licence Holder must advise us in writing of any change to the circumstances of each person (except any mortgage provider) named on the licence application form if the new circumstances are likely to affect the ability of such a person to carry out any function concerning the operation or management of the HMO.

Completion: This must be done within one month of the change occurring
Authority: Section 67(1)(a) of the Housing Act 2004

11. Prevention of anti-social behaviour

The Licence Holder must take all reasonable and practical steps to prevent or minimise any nuisance or antisocial behaviour arising in connection with the HMO.

The Licence Holder must cooperate with us, the Police Service and any other agencies in resolving complaints of anti-social behaviour.

The Licence Holder should address problems of antisocial behaviour resulting from the occupiers or their visitors and if a complaint is received or antisocial behaviour is discovered the license holder must investigate and keep any records of correspondence or warnings sent so that copies can be provided to us if they are requested.

Completion: This must be complied with from the date of the Licence
Authority: Section 67(1)(a) of the Housing Act 2004

Last updated 29 February 2024