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HMO – House in Multiple Occupation

Did you know that a property being marketed or “Listed” as an HMO means nothing. No one can buy a licensed House in Multiple Occupation.

The license belongs to and is granted to the seller or owner. No buyer can purchase an HMO licence with a property. Buyers must apply to the Local Authority for their own licence.

Before you can get your license you must ensure the property is compliant and satisfies Council requirements. The seller having a licence doesn't guarantee you an easy ride. Local Authorities are notoriously pedantic. You may need to carry out significant work and jump through many hoops to make your property compliant and obtain your license.

Mandatory Licence HMOs?

It has been a legal requirement to licence properties that are defined as Mandatory HMOs since 2006. You must have a licence if you’re renting out an HMO that falls under the Mandatory Licensing prescribed definition.

This definition changed in October 2018. The following properties will need to be licensed under the mandatory scheme;

  • all HMOs with five or more occupiers living in two or more households who share some amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom regardless of the number of storeys

  • self-contained flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both of the flats are occupied by five or more persons in two or more separate households. This will apply regardless of whether the block is above or below commercial premises. This will bring certain flats above shops on high streets within mandatory licensing as well as small blocks of flats which are not connected to commercial premises.

It is the individual HMO that is required to be licensed and not the building within which the HMO is situated.

This means that where a building has two flats and each is occupied by five persons living in two or more households, each flat will require a separate HMO licence.

See your Local Authority for more information.

Details below extracted from two South Wales Local Authrities.


Cardiff Council has declared two areas within Cardiff as Additional Licensing Schemes, namely Cathays and Plasnewydd. The Additional Licensing Scheme in Cathays, which first came into effect on 1 July 2010 and again on 1 January 2016, will again go live on 1 February 2023 for a period of 5 years.

The Council can refuse to licence the HMO if the property does not meet the conditions above, or the licence applicant is not a fit and proper person to hold the licence.

If a licence is refused the council could issue an Interim Management Order which allows it to manage the property for up to a year.

Tel: (029) 2087 1134. If you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO), you should contact Environmental Health in Cardiff Council - Strategic Planning and Environment, City Hall, Cardiff, CF10 3ND. Tel: (029) 2087 1134.

Anyone can object to an application, but it will only be upheld if there is a specific reason such as:

  • The applicant is not a fit and proper person.

  • Possible fire hazards.

  • Anti- Social behaviour.

  • Noise nuisance.


The HMO licensing fee will be dependent on the area within which your property is situated and will be as follows:

The HMO licensing scheme is to be self-funding and the following fees will apply:

Mandatory HMO Licence: £659

Mandatory HMO Licence (Renewal): £546

Address:  Civic Offices, Holton Road, Barry, CF63 4RU

Phone: 0300 123 6696



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