House in Multiple Occupation

The Housing Act 2004 aims to improve housing standards for tenants renting accommodation in the private rented sector. The legislation introduced a number of measures that impact on the private rented sector and in particular the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).


SRS Wales logoDepartment:

Shared Regulatory Services (SRS), Civic Offices, Holton Road, Barry, CF63 4RU


Application Process 

To apply for an HMO licence, applicants must submit the following documents:

  • fully completed application form
  • appropriate fee
  • written declaration
  • detailed sketch or scale plan of the property, with measurements (min. A4 size)
  • current Gas Safety certificate
  • current BS5839 test reports relating to the fire detection system (if applicable)
  • current BS5266 test reports relating to the emergency lighting system (if applicable)
  • current inspection report from a competent electrician

When determining the application for an HMO licence, Vale of Glamorgan Council consider the following matters:

  • ensure that all landlords of HMO, or their agents, are fit and proper persons
  • ensure the house is reasonably suitable for occupation by maximum number of persons or households
  • ensure there are satisfactory arrangement for  the management of the HMO
  • to identify HMOs where there are significant health and safety issues under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004.

The Authority will inspect the HMO to determine whether specific  conditions need to be included on the licence and determine whether action under Part 1 of the Act is required, Housing Health and Safety Rating system.


Licences are granted for a period of five years, although the Authority retains the discretion to grant a licence for a shorter period, where it considers it is appropriate to do so.


The authority is only likely to refuse an application for a licence, or seek variation or revocation of a licence, where the HMO is not reasonably suitable for occupation.


A licence must be renewed at the end of the licence period by completing and submitting a new application form and fee the same as original granting of a licence.



Tacit Consent

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your notification is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period.


The target time is  90 calendar days.


The target completion period for variation to licence conditions is  60 calendar days.


Background and Eligibility Criteria

Mandatory licensing applies to HMO's that meet all three of the following conditions:

  • the property is three or more storeys high
  • it has five or more people in more than one household
  • the occupants share amenities such as bathrooms, toilets or cooking facilities

Certain properties are exempt from the licensing regime:

  • where the whole property consists of self-contained flats
  • where the basement is in commercial use and there are only two residential storeys above
  • where the property is owned or managed by a housing association, a local authority, and education, police, fire or health authority
  • where the building is occupied only by an owner or owners, and members of their household
  • where the building is occupied by only 2 persons

The licence holder must be deemed by the Local Authority to be a "fit and proper person".


If the Landlord is found not to be a fit and proper person he may be required to appoint a competent manager as the licence holder. If no competent person is offered then the Local Authority must issue a Management Order and take over the management of the property until a suitable licence holder can be arranged.




The Housing Act 2004 sets out a number of mandatory conditions which must be applied upon the grant of a licence. These are:

  • if gas is supplied to the house, the licence-holder shall produce to the local housing authority annually for their inspection a gas safety certificate obtained in respect of the house within the last 12 months
  • the licence-holder shall keep electrical appliances and furniture made available by him in the house in a safe condition
  • the licence-holder shall supply the authority, on demand, with a declaration by him as to the safety of the appliances and furniture
  • the licence-holder shall ensure that smoke alarms are installed in the house and that they are kept in proper working order
  • the licence-holder shall supply the authority, on demand, with a declaration by him as to the condition and positioning of the smoke alarms
  • the licence-holder shall supply to the occupiers of the house a written statement of the terms on which they occupy it.

In addition, the authority must  specify the maximum number of households or person that can occupy the house and can impose discretionary conditions in licences where such conditions are appropriate in the promotion of the licensing objectives as set out above.



The fee for initial registration (grant)of an HMO is £630.00 per property (regardless of the number of units of accommodation within the property).


There is no fee for variations to a House in Multiple Occupation licence conditions, but once issued the licence is non transferable so changes to the licence holder would require submission of a new application.


Please contact the authority prior to applying for a variation to ensure it is the correct process for your requirements.


Temporary Exemption Orders for up to six months can be issued if the landlord decides to change an HMO from licensable to non-licensable


Supplementary Information 

Certain records are required to be kept including:

  • fire alarm and detection system logbook of testing
  • annual gas safety certificate
  • emergency lighting periodic inspection test certificate
  • fire safety equipment service records (if applicable)
  • electrical inspection report

The Authority can take action where necessary under one of the following circumstances:

  • operating HMO without a licence is a criminal offence.
  • breaching the licence conditions is criminal offence.
  • allowing the HMO to be occupied by more persons than the licence permits
  • revocation of licence following breach of the licence or management regulations
  • rent payment order where  landlords operate a HMO with out a licence
  • management order where the local authority take over management of the HMO following breaches of  management  or licence conditions
  • variation of licence conditions

Rights of entry

Officers will normally give at least 24 hours notice in writing to owners and occupiers of their intention to enter premises for the purpose of carrying out a survey or examination.


In circumstances where the Housing Authority considers it necessary to ascertain whether an offence has been committed, an enforcement officer may enter the premises at any reasonable time and without prior notice.


Offences and Penalties 

It will be an offence to operate a licensable HMO without a licence and conviction carries a maximum fine of £20,000. While the Local Authority is processing an application then no offence is being committed.


Any landlord or letting agent that operates without a Licence shall be liable to a maximum fine of £20,000. They will also not be able to give notice to a tenant and any rent received during that period may be claimed back.


Offences may be committed where an HMO is:

a) unlicensed

b) occupied by more persons than is awarded by the licence

c) in breach of any licence condition


In respect of licence condition (a) and (b) - £20,000 fine (not exceeding);

In respect of condition (c) fine not exceeding level 5.


Complaint and Other Redress

  •  Failed Application Redress

    Please contact the Licensing Team in the first instance:


    Tel: 01446 709105



    If landlords feel that the refusal of a licence is unreasonable, or that the conditions are, please contact the Local Authority in the first instance or they may appeal to a residential property Tribunal. In all cases, any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

  •  Licence Holder Redress
    Please contact the Licensing Team in the first instance:


    Tel: 01446 709105



    You may appeal to a residential property tribunal  if your application has been refused, or regarding conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or revoke a licence. In all cases, any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

  •  Consumer Complaint
    We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you, preferably in the form of a letter with proof of delivery. 


    If that has not worked and you are located in the UK Consumer Direct will be able to give you advice.    


    If you have a complaint from across Europe contact the UK European Consumer Centre.


    If a licence is granted and you wish to appeal against it being granted you may do so to a residential property tribunal.  e.g. about noise, pollution, etc. Also should one licence holder complain about another.

    In all cases, any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.