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Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)


From 1 October 2018 all privately rented properties housing five or more persons, forming two or more households, where there is sharing (or a lack of) basic amenities such as bathrooms, toilets and kitchens will be required to be licensed by the Council.

There are some exemptions including:

  • bedsits
  • properties converted into self-contained flats before 1991
  • hostels, guest houses, bed and breakfast establishments

View our Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) register.

Do I need an HMO licence?

If your HMO has five or more occupants, forming two or more households, sharing one or more of the standard amenities you need to apply for a licence. HMOs that are only made up of self-contained flats do not require a licence, although individual flats may need a licence if the relevant criteria apply. 

How do I apply for an HMO licence?

If your HMO requires a licence you should read our Application for a Licence for a House in Multiple Occupation - Guidance notes on applying for an HMO licence.

All HMO licence applications are processed through our HMO application service partner Home Safe. To submit your application, visit the Great Yarmouth Borough Council HMO Mandatory Licensing (opens new window) website.

Payment will be required upon application and if everything is satisfactory with your application Home Safe will forward your payment to us with the recommendation to issue your licence.

Please take note that if you are considering applying for an HMO licence, you should contact the Council's Planning Team to check that the property has planning permission for HMO use.

My HMO is not licensable - is there anything I need to do?

There are management regulations that apply to all HMOs to make sure they are all kept in a good and safe order. You should read our Amenity Standards for Privately Rented dwellings and our Fire Precautions in Dwellings booklets.

What information will I need to supply when applying for a licence?

As part of the application for a licence you will be required to supply:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Details of the licence holder
  • Details of the management arrangements
  • Any other ownership details
  • Details of the property, including floor plans for the property showing the room dimensions
  • Current valid Gas Safety Certificate (if applicable)
  • Current valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
  • Evidence of PAT testing of provided electrical equipment.
  • A current automatic fire detection certificate (if applicable)
  • Current Fire Alarm Service certificate
  • Current Fire Risk Assessment
  • Latest Emergency lighting service certificate/record (if applicable)
  • Current Legionella Risk Assessment

What are the criteria for a licence to be granted?

Your application will be forwarded to us once Home Safe has confirmed it is satisfied with your application, and has received and advanced the correct fee.

We will only grant a licence once we are satisfied:

  • The proposed licence holder is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • Proper management standards are being applied at the property
  • The HMO is suitable or can be made suitable for the number of tenants allowed under the licence.
  • The HMO at least meets the minimum standards of amenities and facilities

What happens if I do not apply for a licence or break the rules of the licence?

You will be committing an offence if you fail to apply for a licence or allow a property to be occupied by more people than are permitted on your HMO licence.

Non-compliance could result in the council imposing a Civil Penalty worth up to £30,000.

Please note that where a qualifying HMO is not licensed, the landlord cannot serve a tenant with a Section 21 Notice to Quit (opens new window) until the HMO is licensed.

Do I need to inform anyone else about my application?

Yes, you should complete and send a copy of your completed application form to each of the following:

  • Any mortgagee
  • Any owner of the property to which the application is related (if that is not you), ie the freeholder and any head lessors who are known to you
  • Any other person who is a tenant or long leaseholder of the property or any part of it (including a flat) who is known to you, other than a statutory tenant or other tenant whose lease or tenancy is for less than three years (including a periodic tenancy)
  • The proposed licence holder (if that is not you)
  • The proposed managing agent (if that is not you)
  • Any person who has agreed that he/she will be bound by any conditions in a licence if it is granted

How much does a licence cost?

Licensing costs for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO's)

New HMO licences

Renewal of HMO licences

TotalPart APart BTotalPart APart B

HMO with accommodation for five occupiers

Each additional unit of accommodation£38.00£38.00
Variation of HMO licence£38.00 

Table notes:

  • Part A - is for the processing of a licence application and will need to be paid on completion of the approved application
  • Part B - is required to be paid prior to granting of the licence and is for the operation and enforcement of the scheme
  • your application is not "duly made" until both fees are paid - your licence will not be issued until Part B fee is paid
  • variation of a licence should be applied for directly from Great Yarmouth Borough Council, as the Home safe Scheme is only processing new and renewal applications

How long does a licence last?

A licence usually lasts for five years (shorter in some circumstances).

What standards does an HMO need to meet?

You should read our Amenity Standards for Privately Rented dwellings and Fire Precautions in Dwellings booklets to find out the standards required of an HMO. 

Why does an HMO need to be licensed?

HMOs with five or more occupants, forming two or more households, share one or more of the standard amenities, need to be licensed by law. The aim of HMO licensing is to make sure they are properly managed and meet legal standards. Having a licence acts as proof of the quality of accommodation you are providing.

Licensing HMOs ensures tenants can live in decent and safe homes.

Someone else manages my HMO, who should apply?

As the landlord you can hold the licence yourself or nominate someone else - such as a manager or agent - to be the licence holder. Whoever applies should be the 'most appropriate person' to hold the licence - usually the person who receives the rent.

What happens if I am refused an HMO licence?

If we inspect you HMO and find there is no prospect of it being licenced we may issue an Interim Management Order (IMO) which allows the Council to take on the management of the property for up to 12 months. Alternatively, we may issue a Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN) which allows 3 months for the property to be taken out of use as a licensable HMO or for the basic requirements to be achieved. 

Are HMO licences transferable?

No, HMO licences cannot be transferred to another person or property. If you wish to sell your property as an HMO, the new landlord - or most appropriate person - will have to apply for a licence.

What if I no longer require a licence for my HMO after it has been granted?

Should the circumstances of your property change, for example;

  • the number of occupants falls below five,
  • you are no longer the owner of the property

your property may no longer require a licence and you may be able to apply to revoke it. 

Please contact Great Yarmouth Borough Council Private Sector Housing Team and we will be able to assist with your request. Please note that Home Safe will not be able to assist as they only process new and renewal applications. 

How is my submitted data used by the Council?

Privacy Notice: Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

Who we are
Great Yarmouth Borough Council takes your privacy very seriously and provides the following in compliance with data protection legislation.

Why we process your data
We are required to process this data as part of the performance of our task as a public authority under Article 6(1)(e) of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679.

What we do with your data
We will hold your personal data securely and ordinarily retain it for five years from the expiry of the licence period. We may lawfully share your data only with third parties of a public authority, namely:

  • the Police
  • Department of Justice 
  • Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service
  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government 
  • other local authorities across the UK

Your data may be shared with these authorities for the purpose of the 'Fit and Proper' test, and for our obligations under Chapter 3 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016. In addition to the above, the name and home address of both the Licence Holder and the Agent, plus information about the property, will be published in a HMO Public Register on our website and made freely available to the public. This is in order to comply with section 11 of The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006.

If the property to be licensed is under a mortgage agreement, we will notify your lender and send a copy of the licence proposal for them to communicate any representation.

Your rights
Under data protection legislation you have the right to request access to, rectification, restriction, erasure, portability or objection to the processing of your personal data as detailed in our Data Protection Policy. See our Data protection page for further information.

You can contact our Data Protection Officer for any queries about your data rights on You also have the right to lodge a complaint with the regulator, the Information Commissioner, at

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