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Licences and Permits - Houses in multiple occupation

House The Housing Act 2004 introduced licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO). The Act provided a detailed definition of HMOs and set out standards of management for these types of properties. On the 6th April 2006 HMO licensing came into effect and replaced all previous HMO registration schemes.

What is an HMO?

If you are a landlord and let, or if you are a tenant and live, in a property which is one of the following types detailed below, it is an HMO:

  • An entire house or flat which is let to 3 or more tenants who form 2 or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
  • A house which has been converted entirely into bedsits or other non-self-contained accommodation and which is let to 3 or more tenants who form two or more households and who share kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities.
  • A converted house which contains one or more flats which are not wholly self-contained (i.e. the flat does not contain within it a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by 3 or more tenants who form two or more households.
  • A building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats if the conversion did not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one-third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies.
  • In order to be an HMO the property must be used as the tenants' only or main residence and it should be used solely or mainly to house tenants. Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence and the same will apply to properties which are used as domestic refuges.


HMO Licensing

Landlords that own certain types of HMO have to apply for a licence.  

The aim of HMO licensing is to raise management and amenity standards within HMOs such as bedsits and shared houses. In many cases these types of properties are often poorly managed and have sub-standard amenities and fire precautions in relation to other privately rented properties.

The requirements of the Housing Act 2004 in relation to HMO licensing is dealt with by Local Authorities and within Powys it is the responsibility of Private Sector Housing to inspect and licence such properties.

We will usually grant a licence if:

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

You will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from Powys County Council within 28 calendar days of submitting your request.


Appeals and Complaints

If you are unhappy with our decision, please contact us to discuss it.

If you are still unhappy, you can appeal to a residential property tribunal.  You may also 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.

Consumer complaints and other interested parties

If you wish to appeal against a licence being granted to somebody else, you may appeal to a residential property tribunal within 28 days of the decision being made.


Fire Safety

All categories of HMOs will require a fire detection system and/or structural precautions. The guides below provide a summary of the different levels of detection/ structural precautions required.

Powys County Council works alongside Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue and offers a free Pre-Licence Inspections service for landlords/owners who are considering operating an HMO. Following this inspection a Schedule of Works will be provided detailing the requirements if the property were to be licensed as an HMO. This will also include fire safety improvements if applicable.


Other Safety Schemes

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

Even if your properties do not fall within the remits of this licence, you are still affected by the HHSRS, which replaces the Fitness Standard.

This is the method we use for weighing up risks to health and safety in dwellings and identifying hazards.

There are 29 hazards in total. If significant hazards are identified, we may serve an Improvement Notice or Prohibition Order.


Apply online using the links below.  The links take you to another government website.

Apply to licence a house in multiple occupation

Change a licence for a house in multiple occupation

You can also get an application form from us using the contact details on this page. Please complete the form and return it with the fee to the area licensing office.

You will be charged a fee for this licence.

Licence fees and charges



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