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Multiple occupancy homes


If you rent out a property that's a house in multiple occupation (HMO) in County Durham, such as student accommodation, you may need a licence from us. All types of HMO must meet our minimum standards, but only certain types of HMO must be licensed.

What is an HMO?

The following summarises what may be an HMO under the Housing Act 2004:

  • A building where three or more persons share one or more amenity* and comprise two or more households**
  • A self contained flat where three or more persons share one or more amenity and form two or more households
  • A building converted into one or more converted flats and where the building still does not comply with the Building Regulations 1991.

*an amenity means a water closet, wash hand basin, shower, bath or cooking facilities
**a single household means either an individual (including students) or a family unit.

A family unit can include husband, wife, co-habiting couple, blood or half blood relatives up to grandparent / grandchild, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, step / foster parents or children.

The adopted minimum standards refer to various types of HMO and these include issues such as:

  • Means of escape and fire safety
  • Space standards for bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens 
  • The provision of adequate amenities, such as kitchen and bathroom facilities
  • Lighting, ventilation, heating and water supply

Planning permission for student accommodation

Durham City 

An Article 4 Direction has been confirmed for a defined area of Durham City for HMOs, student accommodation and purpose built student accommodation.  This means you will need planning permission to convert a family home into an HMO. It came into force on 16 September 2016. 

Framwellgate Moor, Newton Hall and Pity Me 

An Article 4 Direction has been confirmed for a defined area of Framwellgate Moor, Newton Hall and Pity Me for HMOs, student accommodation and purpose built student accommodation.  This means you will need planning permission to convert a family home into an HMO. It comes into force on 13 May 2017. 

Note that, under the terms of the Article 4 Direction on HMOs, any Class C4 HMO can revert back to being a single Class C3 dwelling without the need to apply for planning permission.

Interim policy for student accommodation

We have also approved an interim policy on student accommodation which will be used to assess any application for student accommodation together with the Durham City Local Plan  saved policies.

HMO licences

If you rent out certain types of HMO, you will require a licence from us.

Under the revised national mandatory licensing scheme, an HMO must be licensed if the entire house or a flat / apartment is occupied by five or more persons forming two or more households.

How to apply for a licence

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for the licence, you must be deemed by us to be 'a fit and proper person'. This means that you must satisfy certain checks that we will make.

Application evaluation process

When we receive your application, we will contact you to arrange an inspection of the premises.

Licences will be granted if:

  • the proposed licence holder and any manager of the property is a fit and proper person
  • the proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • proper management standards are being applied at the property
  • the HMO is reasonably suitable, or can be made suitable, for occupation by the number of tenants allowed under the licence with at least the minimum prescribed standards of amenities and facilities. These include the number, type and quality of shared bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities.

Implied granting of licence ('tacit consent')

It is in the public interest for us to process your application before it can be granted. This means that you do not have the legal right (known as 'tacit consent') to assume that your licence has been granted just because you have not heard from us within a specified time frame.

We aim to begin processing your application within two days of receipt and aim to grant HMO licences within 14 weeks of a valid and complete application. 

Applicable fees

The fee for a new HMO licence lasting five years is £850. The fee for renewal of an existing HMO licence is £700 for a five person HMO and £750 for a six person or more HMO.

Apply online

Apply by post

Download and complete the application form below to apply by post. Please return your completed application to the address included in the form.

Paper copies will be securely shredded once the application process is complete and the information is stored electronically.

Appeals

Failed application redress

If we reject your application for a house in multiple occupation licence, you have the right to appeal to a residential property tribunal. Please contact us for further information.

Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Licence holder redress

You may appeal to a residential property tribunal regarding conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or revoke a licence. Please contact us for further information.

Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Consumer complaints

If a licence is granted and you wish to appeal against it being granted you may do so to a residential property tribunal within 28 days of the decision being made.

Any other complaint you may have about a licence holder should be directed to us.

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In partnership with

  • EUGO
Contact us
Environment, Health and Consumer Protection
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • Environment, Health and Consumer Protect
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
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