Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation

The Government announced that mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) is to be extended from 1 October 2018. If you rent out a property to five or more occupants in two or more households and they share any of the amenities such as a WC, personal washing facilities and/or cooking facilities, or where any of the amenities are not located within a flat, you must have a HMO licence.

The new legislation has removed the requirement for a property to have three or more storeys.

Apply for a HMO licence

If you are a property owner or a managing agent of a HMO, you must make a full and valid application for a HMO licence to comply with the new requirements. You can complete an online application:

Apply online for a licence

A paper application can be made, however please note additional fees for the administration of the paper application will apply.

It is the responsibility of the licence holder, property owner, manager or managing agent to ensure the property has a valid HMO licence at all times.

Current fees

  • initial fee - £650.00 for a three year licence for a HMO with five units of accommodation
  • additional fee - £30.00 for each additional unit over the five units of accommodation

A £50 discount is available on the initial fee for applicants who were accredited with Wirral Council before the 28 February 2018, or are currently accredited with an approved third party scheme, these being either the National Landlords Association or Residential Landlords Association.

The initial fee for a paper application will be charged at £750 due to administration costs plus £30 for each the additional unit of accommodation over five units.

When is a HMO licence needed?

HMO licences are required for properties that meet the following criteria:

  • occupied by five or more unrelated people forming two or more households and it is their main and only place of residence; and
  • the people living there share amenities such as WC, personal washing facilities, or cooking facilities or where any of the units of accommodation are not fully self-contained

A household can be a single person or certain members of the same family who live together.

It is a criminal offence for a person to have control of a licensable HMO and not apply for a licence. Wirral Council can prosecute or impose a Civil Penalty of up to £30,000.

Processing and timescales

Timescales for processing applications will vary depending on the complexity each individual HMO. The estimated timescale for processing the application through to granting or refusing to licence a property is currently estimated at six to eight weeks.

Your application is not automatically approved once you submit it as information will need to be validated prior to approval.

Certain conditions will be attached to any licence granted. If you do not comply with the conditions the council can pursue legal action, including prosecution.

Failed applications

You can appeal to the First-tier Property Tribunal within 28 days regarding a failed application, conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or revoke a licence.

Where a licensable HMO is incapable of being licensed or has had its licence revoked, the council is under a duty to serve a Management Order. This effectively transfers the management of the HMO to a managing agent, appointed by the council.

The costs of improving the property and the management and maintenance fees can be recovered from the rental stream, with any surplus being paid to the landlord.

The costs of improving the property and the management and maintenance fees can be recovered from the rental stream, with any surplus being paid to the landlord.

Licensed properties and licence holders

To search for licensed HMO properties before 1 October 2018 please use the link below:

To search for licensed HMO properties on or after 1 October 2018 please use the link below:

A copy of the full HMO public register that provides all details required by the legislation can be viewed at Wallasey Town Hall, on request.

To make an appointment to view this register please write to the HMO Team at the below address or alternatively email [email protected]. Please note, Wirral Council reserves the right to charge for this service in accordance with Section 232(5) of the Housing Act 2004.

More information

For further guidance on the application process email [email protected]

You can also write to:

Housing Standards Team
PO Box 290
Brighton Street
Wirral
CH27 9FQ