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Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

Licence applications and HMO licensing changes

Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004 states local housing authorities must license HMOs in their area if they meet the definition of an HMO as prescribed under section 55 of the 2004 Act.

However, from 1 October 2018, the mandatory licensing requirements changed and they are no longer limited to HMOs that are three or more storeys high, but also include buildings with one or two storeys.

Making an application

In order to make the application process easier for landlords, St Helens Council has an online application and payment process:

Apply here

Definition of a licensable HMO

A licensable HMO can be one, two or more storeys in height; however, it must be occupied by five or more persons, from two or more separate households and who share facilities such as a bathroom, kitchen, toilet or living room.

It may include bedsits, shared houses, non-self-contained flats and some self-contained flats.

Houses fully converted into self-contained flats will not usually be HMOs as long as they were converted following 'appropriate' building regulation standards. As a minimum, this will be the 1991 Building Regulations.

In general, the sole use of the property must be as an HMO. However, the council may 'declare' a property to be an HMO where there is significant usage. A property meeting the above definition will require a five-year licence, which is renewable annually.