Isle of Wight Council

Housing Enforcement

Licensable Houses of Multiple Occupation


Service Update: COVID-19 guidance for landlords

Please read our information sheet relating to your responsibilities:

Coronavirus (COVID 19) – Guidance for HMO Landlord, is your shared accommodation COVID-19 secure

Please download and print off our informative poster to use in your property:  

A4 poster - is your shared accommodation COVID-19 secure

Mandatory licence - House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

A mandatory licence is required for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) which is occupied by five or more people, where facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or WC are shared. It includes bedsits, shared houses and some self-contained flats.

On the 1 October 2018 mandatory HMO licensing changed, as Mandatory licensing is longer be limited to HMOs that are occupied by five or more people forming two or more households in a building three or more storeys high and sharing an amenity, but will also include buildings with one or two storeys. This new legislation applies to landlords across England.

Landlords and people responsible for managing a HMOs that require a licence but are not licenced are committing an offence. Certain properties are exempt from being a HMO, and there are certain defences for not having a valid licence, however if convicted a court can impose a fine.

Landlords whose HMOs fall into the scope of licensing will commit an offence if they fail to licence or a apply for a  temporary exemption on or after 1 October 2018.

What Buildings will be deemed to be Licensable

Properties with five or more people who form two or more households. This includes both shared houses and bedsits where occupants share amenities. The property must be their main residence.

Flats that are occupied by 5 or more people who form two or more households that are within blocks of non-purpose built flats. This only applies where the block consists of more than 3 or more self-contained flats. This will include flats above and below commercial premises and flats in converted buildings.

A converted building HMO which contains more than one unit of living accommodation but at least one of the units is not contained behind its entrance door. For example where someone has to cross the common stairway to access a facility such as a toilet. The HMO must be occupied by 5 or more people who form two or more households.

All landlords and property managing agents who let out houses in multiple occupations which fall into the above criteria need an HMO licence from the council. HMO licences are valid for up to five years, after which they need to be renewed.

Application Process

To obtain a copy of the Licence Application pack, please contact the Housing Renewal Section on (01983) 823040.

Alternatively you can download an application pack . Please Note: that the fees included in the downloadable application pack are for indication only, please do not submit a payment with your application form, we will contact you following receipt of your application to confirm the cost.

Application Form and Guidance notes (PDF, 661 KB, 5pages)

Fee Guidance (PDF, 7 KB, 1 pages)

Amenities Guidelines (PDF, 162 KB, 16 pages)

Space Guidelines (PDF, 49 KB, 5 pages)

Applicants Certificate of Notice (PDF, 41 KB, 1 page)

Notice of Application (PDF, 51 KB, 1 page)

HHSRS synopsis  (PDF, 204 KB, 5 pages)

Receipt of your application

A full application is deemed to be the submission of the application form (complete with any associated documents mentioned on the application form) and payment of the fee. The application form and documents must be fully completed, legible and satisfactory for the purposes of deciding on whether to issue a licence. Following a full application, the Council will make a decision within 3 months, unless a greater amount of time has been requested in writing to the applicant with reasons for requesting more time. If the Council does not comply with this the application will be deemed approved automatically.

Additional Regulations

All let residential properties are subject to the Housing Health and Safety Rating system, for further information relating to this, please see the web page entitled ‘Landlords Responsibilities’. Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) are no exception, but given the nature of the property and the higher potential risks to the occupants, there are additional guidelines and regulations that must be taken into account.

These guidelines are:

Space Guidelines - view the minimum room sizes. (PDF, 49KB, 5 pages).

Amenities - view the minimum requirement for amenities. (PDF, 354KB, 19 pages).

Management Regulations - These are the additional requirements of the property manager. (PDF, 83KB, 4 pages).

There is also a useful guide for landlords and managers of HMO's that you can download from the website.