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House in Multiple Occupation licences

Additional Licensing Scheme

On 17 August 2022 and following 2 rounds of 10 week consultations, the council has designated an area in York comprising of 8 electoral ward boundaries, where HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) with 3 or 4 tenants who form more than one household will be subject to an Additional Licensing Scheme.

HMOs that meet certain criteria in these wards will require Additional Licensing from 1 April 2023.

For more information about how the council made this decision, view the report submitted to the council's Executive on 28 July. Minutes and agenda for the meeting are also available.

Copies of the designation and public notice of the scheme can also be viewed online.

Within City of York Council there are 2 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing schemes in operation. These are:

  1. Mandatory HMO Licensing
  2. Additional HMO Licensing

A landlord needs a licence for their HMO if the property either meets the National Mandatory Licensing Scheme criteria or the Additional Licensing Scheme criteria.

A licence is needed to ensure that certain standards are met for the safety of all occupants.

Mandatory HMO licensing

Under the Housing Act 2004 an HMO licence is required for any House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) occupied by 5 or more people in 2 or more households, where householders share facilities such as the kitchen, bathroom, or toilet.

Mandatory Licensing affects all properties across York, regardless of the ward in which the property is located, where the property is used as the occupants’ only or main residence. Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence.

Additional HMO Licensing

Under additional HMO Licensing, from 1 April 2023, an HMO licence is required for any HMO occupied by 3 or 4 people who form more than one household, where householders share facilities such as the kitchen, bathroom, or toilet.

Additional Licensing affects properties in York located in the following 8 wards, where the property is used as the occupants’ only or main residence. Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence.

You can download a map of York highlighting the 8 electoral ward boundaries which will be subject to Additional Licensing.

You can also view an interactive map of all of York's electoral wards, which can be searched via postcode to see if a property falls within one of these areas.

A copy of the Additional HMO Licensing scheme designation and public notice can also be viewed online.

The definition of 'household'

Occupants of a house are part of the same household (Section 258 Housing Act 2004) if they are all members of the same family. That includes:

  • people living together as a cohabiting couple
  • others related to these people such as:
    • parent
    • grandparent
    • child
    • grandchild
    • brother or sister
    • uncle or aunt
    • nephew or niece
    • cousin

A half-blood relationship is treated the same as full blood and a stepchild is treated the same as a child.

3 unrelated friends sharing together are considered to be 3 households; a couple sharing with a third unrelated person would constitute 2 households; a family renting a property is a single household.

Apply or renew a HMO licence

If the above apply and the premises is not exempted on other grounds, then the property must have an HMO Licence:

Please note: applications for our new additional HMO Licensing Scheme will not be able to be made until February 2023. Please do not try applying until this date. However, applications for Mandatory HMO Licences can be made now.

Our HMO licensing guidance document covers the application process in detail and answers key questions about HMO licensing.

Exemptions to HMO licensing

The Housing Act 2004 and associated regulations list certain exemptions from HMO licensing including:

  • any property occupied by just 2 people who form 2 households
  • buildings managed by a local housing authority, registered social landlord, police or fire & rescue authority or a health service body
  • buildings already regulated under certain other statutory provisions (Schedule 1 to SI 2006 Number 373)
  • certain student halls of residence
  • buildings occupied principally for the purposes of a religious community whose principal occupation is prayer, contemplation, education, or the relief of suffering
  • buildings which are owner occupied with no more than two lodgers

HMO licensing standards

Landlords can also read the HMO guidance notes, which provides information about:

  • the physical standards required of an HMO
  • the management standards required in an HMO
  • the fit and proper person test including the training requirements

Detailed guidance for local authorities has been published on GOV.UK; we have developed our Local Implementation Policy.

Read our Additional HMO Licensing Landlords' Briefing. This information was presented at the recent York RLA meeting on 10 January 2023.

HMO licensing updates

You can get further updates of our HMO licensing scheme, when available, by:

Also see

Healthy and Sustainable Homes Service

West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Telephone: 01904 552300