Houses in multiple occupation

Houses in multiple occupation with five or more tenants belonging to two or more households, require a licence from the council. In parts of central Doncaster, we have introduced additional licensing for houses in multiple occupation which brings the threshold down to four tenants.

Landlords and agents who fail to apply for a licence can face unlimited fines, a criminal record and potentially rent repayment orders.
Further information on additional licensing in parts of central Doncaster can be found here


What is a house in multiple occupation?

If you let a property which is one of the following types it is a house in multiple occupation:

  • an entire house or flat let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet
  • a house which has been converted entirely into bed-sits or other non-self-contained accommodation and which is let to three 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 and which is occupied by three or more tenants who form two or more households
  • an existing house which is to be converted may require planning permission
  • a building that 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 a house in multiple occupation 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 used as hostel-type accommodation.

Legal requirements for houses in multiple occupation

The following are some of the main legislative controls covering houses in multiple occupation. The Housing Health and Safety Rating Scheme is the way councils have to assess housing conditions. It is a risk assessment approach to the hazards that affect health and safety of residents in a property. For more information, please see the Landlord's Handbook

Landlords handbook
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Housing health and safety rating scheme
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Housing health and safety rating system
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  • Fire safety Due to the increased fire risk in houses in multiple occupation, an adequate means of escape in event of a fire and adequate levels of fire precautions are required.
  • HMO management regulations 2006 These aim to ensure that through good day-to-day management, proper standards of health, safety and cleanliness are maintained. They place obligations on both the manager and residents.
  • HMO licensing requirements Licensable houses in multiple occupation are required to meet mandatory and discretionary licence conditions, and comply with adopted standards such as minimum room sizes, amenity provision and standards for fire safety.

Do I need planning permission?

We encourage all applicants to ensure they have the required planning permission before submitting a HMO licence application. Furthermore, Doncaster Council has made an Article 4 Direction which means that anyone who wants to convert a property to an HMO, in the defined area, will need to apply for planning permission.  Details of the Article 4 area can be found on the Council’s website.  Outside the Article 4 area, planning permission will be required for any HMO with more than 6 people.

 The Government actively encourage all Councils to ensure planning permission has been given before issuing a licence.  Therefore, the Council will not look to grant an HMO licence unless the appropriate planning permission, where required, has already been given.

 Advice on how to apply for or check that you have the appropriate planning permission can be found here:

Further information

The licensing and management of houses in multiple occupation
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Last updated: 06 October 2020 08:12:48