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Houses in multiple occupancy (HMO's)

A HMO is a house or flat that is occupied by:

  • three or more people who form two or more households
  • the occupiers share or lack facilities such as the kitchen, bathrooms and WC's.

This includes, for example:

  • shared houses
  • houses containing bedsits
  • combination of bedsits
  • self-contained flats where facilities are shared.

Properties converted entirely into self-contained flats which do not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations with at least one third of those flats occupied on short term tenancies are also HMO's.

Am I classed as one household or more?

A family living together in a property is classed as a single household, family relatives include:

  • au-pair
  • parents
  • grandparents
  • children
  • stepchildren
  • grandchildren
  • brothers
  • sisters
  • uncles
  • aunts
  • nephews
  • nieces
  • cousins
  • a relationship of the half-blood shall be treated as a relationship of the whole blood.

However, if three friends live together that would be considered as three households. If a couple share with a third person then that would consist of two households.

COVID -19 guidance

Visit the GOV.UK website for guidance on individuals who share facilities with others, who develop symptoms of COVID-19

Housing Act 2004

Visit the National Archives website to view the full definition of "houses in multiple ocupation" Housing Act 2004

The Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), licensing requirements and management regulations are used collectively when assessing and undertaking action relating to HMO's.

Households - S.258 Housing Act 2004.

A privately let property with five or more persons which form two or more households is a HMO which requires a mandatory licence. The licence is issued by Telford & Wrekin Council and you can submit an application form online. 

Certain properties which may meet the licensing criteria are exempt from licensing, these include:

  • Local Authority owned properties (freehold or leasehold)
  • Properties owned or managed by public bodies such as:
    • registered social landlords
    • health service bodies
    • police authorities.
  • Properties regulated by other legislation such as:
    • care homes
    • nursing homes
    • children's homes.

HMO's with three or four people living as two or more households will not require a licence, however the accommodation will be regarded as a non-licensable HMO and fire safety measures, local amenity standards and HMO management regulations will still apply.

Once issued, the licence is usually valid for five years unless there is a change of ownership, management or licence conditions. The licence may be issued for a shorter period of time; however the full licence fee will still be payable. The licences are non-transferrable between licence holders.

A licence application will be processed on the receipt of a fully completed application form, all supporting documentation and fee.

The property will be inspected prior to the licence being issued to ensure the necessary fire precautions and management arrangements are in place. The property remains subject to inspections during the lifetime of the licence to check management arrangements, occupancy and to ensure that it remains free from disrepair.

It is an offence to operate a HMO property without a mandatory licence and carries an unlimited fine if found guilty of such offence. The Local Authority also have powers to issue a fixed penalty fee of up to £30,000 for the offence instead of a court prosecution.

Fees and charges

Licence application fee's reflect the cost involved for officer time to administer the "average" HMO application, which includes property visits, dealing with general requests for information and advice during the lifetime of a licence.

Our current HMO Licensing fees which came into effect on 1 August 2023 are as follows:

  • a HMO with up to 5 bedrooms - £1,312.53
  • a HMO with 6 - 10 bedrooms - £1,426.46
  • a HMO with 11 or more bedrooms - £1,526.37.

Please note: the fee structure relates to the number of bedrooms within the HMO, but licensing will only be applicable for properties with 5 or more persons in occupation.

If you apply for a licence for a specific number of occupier's, but the property is not considered suitable for the number of persons applied for, you will not receive a refund for the difference in permitted tenant numbers.

For 7 or more occupants, you will also require Full Planning Permission for a Change of Use. Please contact Telford & Wrekin Council's Planning Control team directly in this regard, whether by email at planning.control@telford.gov.uk or by calling 01952 380380.

Application for variation of a licence

If circumstances regarding the HMO change during the licence period, for example an increase/decrease in the number of letting units you must notify the Local Authority directly so that the licence can be reviewed and varied if the property is considered suitable to accommodate the variation request.

Please contact Private Sector Housing as soon as possible regarding a licence variation. Under no circumstances should you allow the property to be occupied by more people than the current licence permits as you will be in breach of your licence conditions.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the Council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the Council within 28 days, please contact us for an update. You cannot assume that because you have not heard from us you will automatically have been granted the licence.

Please note: the target completion period for processing applications is six weeks from receipt of a valid application pack and inspection of the property, however each application is treated on a case by case basis and it could take longer to process an application, especially if information is missing/incomplete.


If your application for a mandatory licence is refused, you can contact Private Sector Housing directly in the first instance to discuss this.

You can also appeal this decision within 28 days to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber - Residential Property). Visit the GOV.UK website to view information about appealing a decision.

If a licence is granted and you wish to appeal against this decision, you can also appeal against this decision to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber - Residential Property) within 28 days of the decision being made.


A full refund will be given if:

  • you have made a duplicate application
  • you made an application for an exempted property by mistake
  • you made an application for a property which is not licensable under the HMO licensing scheme.

A refund will not be given if:

  • you withdraw your application at any stage
  • we refuse your application
  • we revoke (take away) your licence
  • you are subsequently refused planning permission for your HMO
  • your property ceases to be let as an HMO during the term of the licence
  • you sell your interest in the property and cease to be most relevant person to hold the licence.

Licences will be granted if:

  • the house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation
  • the applicant is a fit and proper* person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence 
  • the proposed manager has control of the house, and is a fit and proper* person 
  • the management arrangements are satisfactory 

*in deciding whether someone is fit and proper, the Council will take into account:

  • any previous convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs and fraud; 
  • contraventions of any laws relating to housing, public health or landlord and tenant issues;
  • any convictions for unlawful discrimination; 
  • previous HMO licence refusals;
  • training and qualifications through professional bodies and/or landlord accreditation schemes.

What we will do with your Personal Information

Telford & Wrekin Council Private Sector Housing are collecting your personal data to enable public protection as required by statutory function under the Housing Act 2004 and regulations made thereunder.

Telford & Wrekin Council will not share any of your personal data collected with external organisations unless required to do so by law. However, there may be occasions where we request further information from key third party organisations including, but not limited to Shropshire Fire and Rescue, West Mercia Police or other similar regulators.

View our privacy notice for more information on the Council's privacy arrangements.

Please use our online forms:

From Wednesday 11 May 2022, the Private Sector Housing team will commence a new way of submitting applications, or logging a complaint/enquiry.

As a result, all customers will be directed to a new portal, where you will be expected to register an account, and then submit your complaint or application.

Customers who telephone our Contact Centre will be re-directed to the new portal. Only in extreme cases will our Advisors be on hand to offer assistance with the completion of any forms.

By registering with our portal, customers will be able to keep a track how their submissions are progressing and have the ability to message the relevant department directly.

Visit our Online Portal to apply for an HMO licence, renew your HMO licence or change details on your HMO licence

Documents you will need to submit

Applications for a mandatory licence must be submitted with the following attachments:

  • Sketch floor plan of the premises - this must show the layout of the HMO, including the size of each room, provision of amenities, location of fire doors, automatic fire detection and emergency lighting units
  • Landlords Gas Safety Record or Commissioning Certificate - if there is gas at the property, provide a copy of the current Landlords Gas Safety Record Inspection/Commissioning Certificate for all gas appliances at the premises. This must be dated within the last 12 months
  • Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) - the fixed electrical installation must be tested at least every 5 years. Please provide a certificated dated within the last 5 years which is free of C1 and C2 coded items. Please note that this must be an EICR and any other electrical certificate will not be valid
  • Automatic Fire Detection (AFD) test and inspection/commissioning certificates - the AFD at the property must be tested and inspected annually and the certificate that you provide must be dated within the last 12 months. If the installation has been installed within the last 12 months, then please provide a copy of this certificate
  • Emergency lighting test and inspection/commissioning certificate - emergency lighting must be tested and inspected annually and the certificate provided must be dated within the last 12 months. If the installation has been newly installed within the last 12 months, the installation/commissioning certificate will suffice
  • Proof of identification and address - either a current photo card driving licence or passport along with proof of address, such as bank statement, utility statement, Council Tax bill addressed to you at your current address within the last 3 months.
  • Portable Appliance Test (PAT) Certificate - required for all the electrical appliances provided by the landlord. PAT test certificate is required to be issued on an annual basis.
  • Fire Risk Assessment - the property is required to have a Fire Risk Assessment which has been carried out by a competent person. This document must be reviewed on an annual basis.

Failure to provide a full and complete application with all above documents will cause a delay with processing the licence. If documents expire as a result of an incomplete application being received, you will be requested to provide up to date documents.

These documents can be submitted electronically as long as the text is legible or they can be sent to Private Sector Housing by post. If sent by post, your application will not be complete until all the required attachments are satisfactorily received.

The appropriate licence fee must also be paid to complete the application, you can make your payment online by credit/debit card.

You must note that relevant persons are notified of the application for a Mandatory HMO licence, this includes joint owners of the property and mortgage companies. You must also notify them yourself of this application.

Private Sector Housing is responsible for maintaining a public register of licensed HMO's. Please view and download the Public Register.

Please note the HMO register does not include any HMO Licence Applications that are currently in progress so if your query is regarding a specific address that is not on the Public Register, please email privatesectorhousing@telford.gov.uk

Last updated: 10/04/2024 10:45

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