Houses in Multiple Occupancy
Here you will find the following information:
What are Houses in Multiple Occupation?
Full definitions of HMOs can be found in the Housing Act 2004.
Premises will generally only constitute an HMO if occupied by three or more people, forming two or more separate households.
An HMO is a building, or part of a building, such as a flat, that:
- is occupied by more than one household
- is occupied as their only or main residence
- rents are payable (or other consideration)
- where more than one household shares - or lacks - an amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities
- is occupied by more than one household and which is a converted building - but not entirely self-contained flats (whether or not some amenities are shared or lacking)
Note – an HMO can be formed if an owner occupier has more than two lodgers.
A household can consist of members of the same family eg: couples, siblings, children (and step children) parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins including half relatives, foster children/parents.
Find out whether your property is an HMO by viewing ‘Is my property an HMO Checklist’ PDF, 175.92 KB
For any further information with regard to HMO definitions, please contact the Private Sector Housing Team on 01322 343152 or complete the Online Contact Us Form or download a presentation. PDF, 579.66 KB
Standards and Management applicable to ALL HMOs
IMPORTANT – all HMOs (regardless of whether it is licensable) will be required to meet certain Amenity Standards, have certain fire detection/prevention measures and be free from Category One Hazards.
HMO's are known to pose a greater risk to the occupants in terms of fire safety than those in single family occupation and are required to satisfy the relevant Housing Act legislation. Most HMOs will require a mains wired, interlinked fire detection system and some will also need an emergency lighting system. For further guidance please consult the LACORS fire safety guidance; there are useful worked examples towards the end of the document.
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, some HMOs will also need to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, (often referred to as the RRO or just Fire Safety Order). These will typically be houses let as bedsits, hostels and blocks of flats. Further information is found in the HMOs sleeping guide and The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
If you are a live-in landlord, standards may be slightly different; please contact the Private Sector Housing Team Tel 01322 343152.
The property should also meet the requirements outlined in The Amenity Standards document PDF, 899.38 KB which covers room sizes, kitchen and bathroom provisions etc. and has been adopted by Dartford Borough Council.
- The property should be free of Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) Category One Hazards
- There should be a current, satisfactory GAS SAFE gas safety certificate for the HMO
- An HMO must have a current (within the last 5 years) satisfactory (ie free from C1 and C2 observations) Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) completed by a competent person
The management of an HMO should comply with the requirements of Statutory Instrument 372 – The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation PDF, 205.92 KB.
If the dwelling already has planning use class C3 (residential use) and you intend to house six or less persons, then a change in planning use is not normally required. If you have C3 use and intend to house more than six persons, then you should consult with the Planning Department as planning consent for a change of use of the dwelling from single to multi occupancy (sui generis) will be required. If the premise does not have a residential use class you should consult with the planning department, advising on your intentions. In all cases, you should in the first instance speak to Planning on 01322 343203 who will offer direct advice.
Other useful information
Some converted buildings with self-contained units may still be defined as an HMO but currently fall outside of the licensing system: Landlords' Guide to the Management of Section 257 HMOs PDF, 212.92 KB
Some works to make a property suitable for HMO use may require Building Regulations approval; please check with the Council’s Building Control Team before commencing works
Does my HMO need a Licence?
The Housing Act 2004 requires Local Authorities to license certain types of houses which are in multiple occupation. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) include those occupied by persons who do not form a single household and are not totally self-contained.
Licensable HMOs are currently those of 5 or more persons in two or more households. (There is one exception - a purpose-built flat being occupied by 5 persons as an HMO which is situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats will not require a licence).
If you are a live-in Landlord, an HMO Licence is only required if you have four or more lodgers/Tenants.
It is a criminal offence to operate a licensable HMO without a licence; see the Council’s Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy PDF, 1354.08 KB.
My HMO needs a Licence – what now?
A licensed HMO must also comply with all the Standards and management application to all HMOs but in addition, qualifying HMO’s must have a Licence to operate and licence conditions can include; the condition of the property, management conditions, Amenities, storage and disposal of household waste, room sizes, occupation restrictions, require works to be completed. The Licence holder and any agent must be deemed a ‘fit and proper person’.
New minimum bedroom sizes introduced October 2018:
One person aged over 10 years
Not less than 6.51 sqm
Two persons aged over 10 years
Not less than 10.22 sqm
One person aged under 10 years
Not less than 4.64 sqm
No occupation permitted
Less than 4.64 sqm
The room sizes will apply to new licence applications and renewals but the Council has the discretion to provide a maximum of an 18 month grace period to allow Landlords to take appropriate steps to comply with room size licensing conditions.
It is an offence to operate without a licence PDF, 1354.08 KB or to fail to comply with conditions and breaches to these requirements could result in fines or prosecution.
The management of an HMO should comply with the requirements of Statutory Instrument 372 – The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation PDF, 205.92 KB
For more detailed information, please download a copy of Guide to HMO licensing PDF, 324.53 KB PDF, 677.23 KB
Policy guide to mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation in Dartford - annex 2 of the Council’s Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy PDF, 1354.08 KB
How to apply for an HMO Licence or Re-Licence
Please read carefully and follow all instructions; an application will not be accepted as valid or be processed until the following documents are received:
1. A fully completed application form: -
All required supporting documentation-
- Current (ie: within last 12 months) Gas Safety Certificate
- Current (ie: within last 5 years) Electrical Installation Condition Report completed by a competent person such as NAPIT, ELECSA, NICEIC contractor
- Fire Detection systems – for systems less than 12 months old – the design, installation and commissioning certificates for the system
- Or if older than 12 months, the most recent servicing/maintenance certification for the system
- Emergency lighting – for systems less than 12 months old, the installation certificate or for systems older than 12 months, the most recent servicing/maintenance certification
- Copy of a Tenancy Agreement
- Proof of address of the applicant
- Annotated floor plan showing rooms sizes and fire safety measures (Drawing a plan of a house, example PDF, 4257.79 KB)
- Fit and Proper Persons forms PDF, 718.84 KB for all interested-parties
- Proof of payment of Licence Fees
HMO Licence Fees 2020/21
A five year licence fee costs £830 or £780 if the property is accredited by the Council's Accreditation Scheme - a scheme which recognises premises attaining high standards of maintenance/facilities.
HMO Re-Licence Fees 2020/21
A five year re-licence fee costs £635 or £585 if the property is accredited by the Council's Accreditation Scheme - a scheme which recognises premises attaining high standards of maintenance/facilities.
Submission of Application
The completed application , and any required supporting documents will normally be submitted electronically via the online portal . Any additional information should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Processing of applications
HMO licence and re-licence applications will be processed on receipt of all valid documentation and fees. The application will be determined within 12 weeks of the Council's acknowledgement that it is satisfied that the application complies with the legislative requirements. If an extension of time is required to determine your application, the time limit will be agreed with you or your agent.
If you receive no further contact from us within the 12 week timescale or agreed extension period, then tacit authorisation applies. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted.