Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

If you rent your property out to several tenants who aren't members of the same family, it may be a HMO (house in multiple occupation). 

You'll need to apply to us for a licence if you think your property could be a HMO, or you may be fined. The licence usually lasts for five years. 

Please read all of the information below before you start the form. Find out more about houses in multiple occupation or self contained flats or amenity standards for HMO.

Properties that need a HMO licence  

A property is classed as a HMO if:   

  • five or more people live there in at least 2 separate households
  • the tenants share bathroom or kitchen facilities   

A HMO could be:   

  • a shared house or flat where the tenants are not members of the same family
  • a house split into bedsits
  • a hostel
  • shared accommodation for students    

Before you buy a property that you're intending to let as a HMO you'll need to make sure it has the right planning permission, or that it's likely to get planning permission. The same applies if you're converting a property into a HMO.  

Who can apply   

You can only apply to be the licence holder if you have full financial control of the property. This means that you're responsible for paying for any repairs to the property and you receive the rental income. Your letting agent or managing agent won't be able to apply for a HMO licence on your behalf.     

A HMO licence is not transferable. If you sell the property the new owner will need to apply for a licence in their name.     

What you'll be responsible for as a HMO landlord

To get a licence your property will need to meet the legal minimum standards set out in the Housing Act 2004 and national licencing and management regulations 2006.    

As a HMO landlord you must make sure that:    

  • you have proper fire safety measures in place and a fire risk assessment for your property
  • you arrange gas safety checks every year
  • every five years the electrics are checked
  • you deal with any repairs to the structure, fixtures and fittings (including electrical wiring, gas and water pipes)
  • your property isn't overcrowded
  • your tenant's deposits are in a deposit protection scheme
  • your property manager or letting agent (if you have one) is signed up to a government approved redress scheme    

Landlords of licensable HMOs have responsibilities for conditions relating to anti-social behaviour; this forms part of the licence application. Please make sure you're aware of these when considering applying for a HMO licence as it may affect your application, or it may be revoked, if you don't take effective action to deal with anti-social behaviour if it arises in a property you're the landlord or licence holder of.

Read more about being a private landlord and what's involved in our advice for landlords and the government guide to licensing houses in multiple occupation for landlords and managers.

The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, places a duty upon landlords or person having control of the House in Multiple Occupation to ensure they have undertaken and can provide when asked, a written Fire Risk Assessment of their property which covers the common parts . For example: Adequate means of escape, correct fire boarding and fire detection which is in place and can verify, where appropriate testing and audit procedures. Find out more on the Lacors fire safety guidance.    

How to apply 

You can apply online for a HMO licence on this page. You'll need to apply within 12 weeks of buying a HMO or converting a property into one.  

If you're renewing your licence you should apply before your existing one expires.    

You could be prosecuted if your property doesn't have a valid HMO licence.     

Information you'll need to apply    

You'll need to provide the following details in the application form:   

Interested parties    

Separate contact details for all interested parties, including:    

  • the proposed licence holder
  • the owner/joint owner
  • the managing agent (if it's not the same person as the licence holder)
  • the letting agency if you use one to rent out your property
  • any long term tenants or leaseholders
  • the mortgage provider    

You should also have informed all of these people that you're intending to apply for a HMO licence.    

Please tell us if the proposed licence holder or manager has a criminal record, with the dates and details of any convictions.    


The facilities and amenities of the house including: 

  • the purpose of each room (kitchen, bathroom etc)
  • the number of bedrooms
  • the exact measurements of each room in m2 (eg 10.45m2)    

You'll also need to upload a scanned copy of a valid:    

  • gas safety certificate
  • fire safety certificate
  • electrical safety certificate     


You'll also need to agree to a statement of declaration that gives us the authority to carry out checks on: 

  • the licence holder
  • any other interested parties
  • the property    

Fees and how to pay    

A HMO licence is £505 for a property with up to five bedrooms. We'll reduce this to £405 if you're a member of the Barnsley Landlord Accreditation Scheme.    

If the property has more than five bedrooms you'll be charged an additional £50 for each bedroom.    

If you've asked us to do your Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check we'll charge you an extra £70.  

You pay online for a HMO licence. We'll send you an email with a payment reference and the amount due when we've approved your application.

The checks we'll make 

When we've received your form we'll arrange to visit the property to inspect it.   

When we visit the property we'll check that it's large enough for the number of occupants, and that it meets the minimum standards. You don't need to attend, but you should make sure that we can access the property and each room.   

You'll need to give any tenants already living there at least 24 hours notice before we visit. 

We'll only give you a HMO licence if:

  • the house is reasonably suitable for the specified number of people to live there 
  • the house meets the conditions of the licence
  • the proposed licence holder is a fit and proper person
  • the proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence 

We'll also do some background checks on the proposed licence holder and any other interested parties you've named in the form. If you've had a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and have a current certificate, you can upload it with the form.  

If you don't have a DBS certificate we may ask you to have a DBS check before we can process your application. You can either arrange it yourself, or ask us to do it on your behalf. We'll add £70 to the cost of your licence if you ask us to acquire your DBS check.  

We'll return to check the property if we have any concerns during the licence period. 

When you'll receive your licence  

When we've received your form it usually takes us up to 28 days to check the information you've told us and visit the property, before we can issue the licence. We'll let you know if we need to make any additional checks that could delay the licence.    

The length of the licence is usually five years, but we can award it for a shorter period in some circumstances.  

Penalties for not having a valid licence 

Your HMO licence will be invalid if you breach any of the conditions on it; and we may ask you to refund your tenants up to 12 months of their rent (or pay housing benefit back to the council). You could also be prosecuted in court, fined up to £20,000 and given a criminal record.   

Your licence won't be valid if you:   

  • allow more people to live at the property than the maximum number on the licence
  • add extra bedrooms 
  • change the purpose of any rooms
  • sell the property
  • give somebody else financial control of it   

Changes to your licence

You'll need to if there are any changes in your circumstances, or to the property during the licence period.

You are not able to transfer a licence to a new owner and a new application will be required. You are able to vary a licence to reflect a new manager for the remainder of the licence period. Please submit all relevant information via our contact us form or by emailing

You can apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice if you intend to stop the property operating as an HMO. The exemption notice will last for three months from the date it was awarded. Please submit all relevant information via our contact us form or by emailing

If you don't tell us about any changes your licence may become invalid, and you could be prosecuted.

 HMO register

We maintain a register of HMOs with a current licence in Barnsley. Licences that we're currently processing may not appear on the register.

If you think a property is a HMO and it's not in the register, please report it to us.

Report a suspected HMO

If you think people are living in a property being operated as a HMO you can report this to us.  

You can check our register of HMOs in Barnsley with a current licence. Licences that we're currently processing may not yet appear on the register.