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You can apply for a licence by either completing the online form, or printing it out and filling it in by hand. The form contains the application form and includes details of fees as well as terms and conditions.
To apply online please complete the form at Houses In Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licensing, following the instructions at the beginning of the form.
The HMO licence enforcement provisions came into force on 6 July 2006.
It is now an offence to operate a licensable HMO without a licence: there are heavy penalties on conviction. A licensable HMO is a house with three or more storeys, and with five or more people living there, in two or more households. In some cases a maisonette in a house or above commercial premises may need a licence if similarly occupied. It is an offence to operate a licensable HMO without a licence. The licence makes sure that the property is safe and meets basic occupancy standards, for example, has enough bathrooms.
What counts as a storey?
Working out what counts as a storey in a house can sometimes be complicated. Basements and attics count, as do mezzanine floors. Sometimes other parts of the building such as shared stairs can count as a storey as well. We've put together an information sheet giving some examples of where a licence is needed to help you work this out. If you are in any doubt please contact the HMO team.
What if it's a family that lives in the house?
The house only needs a licence if there are two or more households (people who are unrelated) living there.
Fire safety guidance
The government has issued guidance on fire safety to assist in understanding what has to be done to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO). The intention of this guidance is to ensure that there is a consistent risk assessment approach in private rented properties by fire services and councils. Compliance with the guidance will also satisfy the HMO licensing requirement. The licensing standard has now also been changed to reflect this.
- Applications must be made to the council.
- A fee will be payable unless the landlord has charitable status
- You and any person involved in the management of the property and any keyholder must be a 'fit and proper person.
If a property is licensed it means that it needs to meet certain standards to ensure that it's safe. For example, you are 16 times more likely to have a fire in a three storey HMO than in other types of property. The person managing the property also needs to follow a Code of Good Management Practice and be a 'fit and proper person', which means that the property will be well managed.
- HMO Licensing Standards (pdf, 38 KB) (opens new window)
- Code of good management practice information sheet (pdf, 19 KB) (opens new window)
- 'Fit and proper person' information sheet (pdf, 36 KB) (opens new window)
Licences will be granted 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.
We anticipate that the HMO Licence will be issued within no longer than 12 months, and in most cases will be issued far sooner.
Will tacit consent apply?
No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard anything within 16 weeks, please contact us.
The council has a duty under the Housing Act 2004 to maintain a public register of all HMO Licences. See related documents on this page for a list of all the addresses of licensed HMOs in Bristol City Council. If you would like a list containing all details of licensed HMOs please contact us. A charge of £25 will be payable.
You can check with the us to see if it's already been licensed, or simply tell us the address and other information you think is useful.
However you choose to contact us we will treat the information in complete confidence. Unless you specifically ask us to do so, we will not call or email you back, and we will not keep your contact details. We will never pass your details onto the landlord of the property.
If we decide to prosecute your landlord for not having a licence and that prosecution is successful, you may be able to apply to reclaim some of your rent through the Residential Property Tribunal. More information can be found on the Residential Property Tribunal from the Ministry of Justice website.
You can download a copy of an application form to the Residential Property Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order from the Ministry of Justice website.
Please contact us in the first instance.
You may appeal to a residential property tribunal. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.
Licence holder redress
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.
Private Housing Team PO Box 595 (AC) Bristol, BS99 2AW
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Work: 0117 352 5010
- Text phone: 0117 352 5010