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Houses in multiple occupation licence



What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?

An HMO could be a:

  • house split into separate bedsits
  • shared house or flat, where the sharers are not members of the same family
  • hostel
  • bed-and-breakfast hotel that is not just for holidays
  • shared accommodation for students

Many halls of residence and other types of student accommodation owned by education establishments are not classed as HMOs.

From 1 October 2018, you will need an HMO licence from South Tyneside Council if the property you are renting out is:

  • Occupied by five or more people, forming two or more households
  • these people people share amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom

The government have also introduced minimum room sizes for bedrooms and a new mandatory condition which requires the license holder to have appropriate arrangements in place for the storage and disposal of waste.

Before making your application please refer to the Application Guidance and Mandatory Conditions 2018468.46KB.

    I have more than one HMO, how many licences do I need?

    You must have a licence for each individual HMO. 

    How much does an HMO licence cost?

    The current HMO licence fee is £818 , and this is payable in two parts - £305 on application and the remaining £513 on issue of the license.

    How long is an HMO licence valid for?

    HMO licences can be granted for up to 5 years.

    You must remember to renew your licence before it runs out:

    Renew your house in multiple occupation licence

    Eligibility criteria

    You must be a 'fit and proper' person to hold the licence.

    Each person involved in the management of a property needing a licence must complete a fit and proper person declaration.

    You are a 'fit and proper' person if you, or a relevant person associated with you such as a spouse or business partner, have not committed any offences involving:

    • fraud
    • dishonesty
    • violence
    • drugs or sexual offences
    • unlawful discrimination in business
    • contravention of housing law
    • breach of an approved code of management 

    How will my application be assessed?

    Licences will be granted if the:

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

    How long will it take for my application to be processed?

    Once we have received all of the documentation to support your application we will aim to process your application within 8 weeks. 

    If we need any further time to consider your application, we will contact you directly. 

    Will tacit consent apply if I haven't heard back from you?

    Tacit consent does not apply due to public safety considerations.

    How do I appeal if my application isn't approved?

    You may appeal if the Council decides to:

    • refuse a licence
    • grant a licence with conditions
    • cancel / revoke a licence
    • change a licence
    • refuse to change a licence

    Appeals should be made to the Residential Property Tribunal, normally within 28 days.

    Please send your appeals to:

    Residential Property Tribunal
    Property Chamber, Northern Residential Property First Tier Tribunal
    First Floor, Piccadilly Exchange
    2 Piccadilly Plaza
    M1 4AH

    How do I appeal against a licence that has been granted?

    Please contact South Tyneside Council on 0191 427 7000 in the first instance to try and resolve any issues.

    If you would like to appeal you may do so to a residential property tribunal within 28 days of the decision being made.

    Only 'relevant persons' can appeal against an HMO Licence. 'Relevant persons' include licence holders, mortgage companies, property owners etc.

    Members of the public (including neighbours) are not considered relevant persons under the legislation.

    Please send your appeals to:

    Residential Property Tribunal
    Property Chamber, Northern Residential Property First Tier Tribunal
    First Floor, Piccadilly Exchange
    2 Piccadilly Plaza
    M1 4AH

    What changes can affect the licence?

    A licence is granted based on the status of the property when the application was made. You must tell us if circumstances change as this could mean that the licence is invalid. This could include:

    • a change in licence holder, managing agent or manager
    • if you change something internally within the property then you must apply for a variation in the licence
    • If the property is no longer a HMO, please notify us and the licence will be cancelled.

    If you need to make a change to your current HMO licence please visit GOV.UK: Application to change a house in multiple occupation licence

    What happens if I don't apply for a licence?

    You will be given reasonable opportunity to apply for a licence before the Council will take formal action.

    It is an offence to operate without a licence without reasonable excuse. If you are found guilty, the court can impose an unlimited fine for renting out an unlicensed HMO. 

    The council can also impose a Civil Penalty fine between £600 and £30,000.

    You may also have to repay any rent received during the time the property wasn't licensed back to your tenants, and the Council, if any benefits were paid out on their tenancy

    Do I need both a licence and planning permission?

    The HMO licensing law protects the health, safety and welfare of the occupants of an HMO. Planning legislation controls the use of the property.

    Having an HMO licence does not mean that you do not need planning permission. Likewise, having planning permission to use a property as an HMO does not mean that you do not need an HMO licence.

    Before converting a property to an HMO, you should first confirm whether planning permission is needed. Building Regulation approval will always be needed to convert premises into an HMO. Please contact Building Control on 0191 424 7436 or as soon as possible to discuss the requirements as they can be quite complex and expensive to comply with. 

    For further information please see planning and building control or contact the Building Control team on

    How do I report an HMO?

    If you believe that an HMO which needs a licence is operating without one, please email the property address and any further details to

    How can I check if an HMO has a licence?

    South Tyneside Council is required to maintain an HMO public register for South Tyneside.

    The public register can be viewed free of charge by appointment or email

    Additional and Selective licensing

    Councils can introduce additional licensing of smaller HMOs and selective licensing of privately rented properties in designated areas.

    There are currently no additional licensing schemes in South Tyneside.

    Find out more about the Selective Licensing scheme  

    Who should I contact if I need more information?

    If you are a landlord or tenant and would like some more information about HMO licensing please email and a member of the team will contact you to discuss this further.

    Alternatively, you can contact South Tyneside Council's Customer Contact Centre on 0191 427 7000.

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