Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) - licence application

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If you rent out a property for house in multiple occupancy (HMO), you may require a licence from your local authority.

If you rent out or intend to rent out a house in multiple occupation which is occupied by five or more people (who form more than one household and they share at least one bathroom, kitchen and/or toilet or lack one of these amenities) then you are required to have a licence.


What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a building where the people who live there, do not live together as a single household. These properties are occupied by households or individuals who live independently of each other. The most common types of HMOs are:

  • Bedsits
  • Shared housing (this could be rooms within a property let to different people such students)
  • Hostels
  • Bed & breakfast establishments
  • Some guest houses and hotels
  • Lodgings
  • Registered care homes
  • Boarding houses
  • Properties which have been converted into self contained flats


What is a Household?

The occupants are all considered to be part of the same household (Section 258 Housing Act 2004) if they are all members of the same family. That includes people living together as husband and wife or in a similar same sex relationship, plus others related to them as parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or cousin. A half-blood relationship is treated the same as full blood and a stepchild is treated the same as a child. Three unrelated friends sharing with a third unrelated person would constitute 2 households; a family renting a property is a single household.


Temporary Exemption

You must apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice if you intend to:

  • Stop renting property

  • Reduce the number of occupants

If your application for a Temporary Exemption Notice is successful, it’ll last for a maximum of three months, instead of a full licence. You may apply for a secondary notice after this period, however, if the issue is still unresolved after this notice runs out then you must apply for a HMO licence.


Making an Application

Applications must be made to Stockton Council. Applications can be made online. Your application will not be processed until all the accompanying attachments and HMO licence fee are received. 


Licence fee

The basic licence fee is £250 per unit of accommodation. To calculate the fee multiply the number of units of accommodation by £250, for example the licence fee for a HMO with five units of accommodation will be £1,250.

For landlords who are members of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Landlord Accreditation Scheme the licence fee is discounted to £200 per unit of accommodation.

A unit of accommodation means a room such as a bedsit room, a self contained flat (that has been deemed to be part of a HMO), a bedroom in a shared house, flat or hostel.

View details of our HMO licence fees.


Application checks

The Council will undertake checks to ensure that the proposed licence holder and others managing the HMO (or any people associated with them) are 'fit and proper' people. In deciding whether someone is fit and proper the Council will take in to account:

  • Any previous convictions relating to offences involving; violence, drugs, sexual offences and fraud or dishonesty
  • Contraventions of laws relating to housing, health and safety, public health, building or planning legislation or landlord and tenant law
  • Whether the person has practiced unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sex, colour, race, ethnic or national origins or disability


Evaluation process

Licences will be granted if:

The house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation We will consider the application and determine the number of households and/or persons allowed to occupy the HMO. In doing this we will consider the number of rooms available to be used for sleeping and/or for communal purposes. We also consider the sizes of these rooms and the number of baths and/or showers, toilets and kitchen amenities.
The applicant is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence
Along with meeting the fit and proper person criteria, the Council will need to be satisfied that the licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence. The most appropriate person is the person having control of the HMO. The person having control is defined in section 263 of the Housing Act 2004 as 'the person who receives not less than two-thirds of the full net annual value of the premise' i.e. two-thirds of the rental income.
The proposed manager has control of the house, and is a fit and proper person to be the manager
Along with meeting the fit and proper person criteria, the Council will need to be satisfied that the person managing the HMO is either the person having control of the HMO or is a person who is an employee or an agent of the person having control of the HMO.
The management arrangements are satisfactory
In considering whether the proposed management arrangements for the HMO are satisfactory the Council will give consideration that any person involved in the management of the HMO has a sufficient level of competence to be involved. We will also carry out checks to ensure that any person who will be involved in the management of the HMO (other than the manager) is a fit and proper person to be involved and the Council will also check to see if the proposed management structures and funding arrangements are suitable.


Apply for, renew or change an HMO licence

Apply for a house in multiple occupation licence. You should also use this application if an existing licence holder has changed.

If you are unable to complete an application online, please download a copy and return manually

The application must be submitted with several supporting documents. Your application will not be processed until all the required attachments are received.

The appropriate licence fee must also be paid electronically at the time of on-line application.


Need help with your application?

If you need help in completing your application then you can pay a fee to Stockton Council who will assist you with the application to ensure it is correct (this will include the production of scaled plan drawings of the property). The amount you will be required to pay will depend upon the number of units of accommodation - HMO licence fees.


Waiting for consent

You should not assume that you can proceed and operate your HMO if you have not received a decision from us. We must process your application fully before permission can be granted. It is in the public interest that the Authority must process your application before it can be granted. Please contact us at any time after submitting your licence application.


Complaints and advice

If your licence application is refused you can make representations to Stockton Council in the first instance. You may also appeal to a residential property tribunal.

If we still refuse your licence application then you can appeal to the First-tier tribunal – Property Chamber (Residential Property). This must be done within 28 days of the decision to refuse your application being made.

Manchester - Northern Region Address: Residential Property 
1st Floor 
Piccadilly Exchange 
Piccadilly Plaza 
M1 4AH 

Telephone: 0161 237 9491
Fax: 01264 785 128
Email: [email protected]

Visit the GOV.UK website for further information.

If you would like to complain about the way your licence application has been dealt with please contact us in the first instance.

You may appeal to a residential property tribunal regarding conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or revoke a licence. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

  • If a licence is granted and you wish to appeal against it being granted you may do so to a residential property tribunal within 28 days of the decision being made
  • Also one licence holder can complain about another

As a licence holder you may have cause to make a complaint regarding a number of matters. Listed below are the details of some of the organisations that may be able to help.

You may find that the following trade association is able to offer helpful advice - British Property Federation.


Important information and resources

SBC House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Policy

HMO Proformas for Landlords

SBC HMO Amenity Guidance

Alley Gate Replacement

SBC HMO Fire Safety Guidance

Details of Alarm

SBC Public Register of Licensed HMOs

Electrical Appliance Safety

LACORS Fire Safety Guidance

Furniture Safety

Electrical Safety Guide for Private Landlords 

How to Report Repairs

HMO Management Regulations

Notification of Changes

Rent Repayment Order

Record of Property Inspections

Shelter HMO Advice

Anti-Social Behaviour Template