Houses in Multiple Occupancy

The Housing Act 2004 has introduced a new definition of a 'house in multiple occupation (HMO)'. The interpretation is complex but can briefly be summed up as a building or part of a building consisting of one or more units of living accommodation, or a self-contained flat; occupied by persons who do not form a single household and where there is some sharing of the basic amenities (washing facilities, toilets, kitchens). The main effect of this is to include shared student housing within this definition.

The Government intended that only high risk HMO's be subject to licensing. They are identified as those properties which comprise three storeys or more, and house five or more persons who form two or more households. A household can be a single person. Regulations to control the management of HMO's have also been introduced and they apply to all categories of HMO.

As at December 2012 approximately 1750 applications for a licence have been received and work is continuing to identify properties which should be licensed but are not. Letters are currently being sent to licence holders of properties whose licence has expired advising them of the need to renew the licence. 

View Online HMO Licensing Applications  

The Local Authority must grant a licence if it is satisfied that

  • The house is reasonably suitable for occupation by the number of households or persons applied for or determined by the LA having regard amongst other things to the provision of amenities and facilities.
  • The proposed licence holder or manager is a fit and proper person and is the most appropriate person to hold the licence.
  • The arrangements for managing the house are satisfactory.

There is a fee payable by the landlord to cover the cost of administering the scheme and inspecting the properties to ensure that they meet the relevant standards. The details of the fees that will be charged can be found  The Government have set minimum standards for the provision of amenities and the local authority has set additional requirements which can be attached as conditions to the licence.

The Council operates an Accreditation Scheme for Shared Housing and HMOs the purpose of which is to raise standards of accommodation on a voluntary basis. It is open to both licensable and non-licensable HMOs and is free to join.

Application Forms and Guidance

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 from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it using the contact details below. 

If you are a landlord or tenant and would like more information about HMO licensing please contact the HMO team by emailing: or by phone on 0191 211 6102.

Contact Details

Public Health & Private Sector Housing
Room 702, Civic Centre
Newcastle upon Tyne


Phone: 0191 2116102

Other Relevant Pages

The Safety of Goods in Rented Accommodation

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Page last updated: 03 February, 2014