Image demonstrating Council to tighten controls on Homes in Multiple Occupation

Council to tighten controls on Homes in Multiple Occupation

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are properties where the occupants do not form a single family and are typically houses divided into bedsits with shared facilities. To be a licensable HMO there has to be five or more people living as more than one family at the property.

At the moment only HMOs with three or more storeys are required to have a licence from the Council.  

But from the 1 October 2018 the licensing regime will be expanded to cover all HMOs  irrespective of how many stories they contain. After this date any properties which are not correctly licensed may be subject to legal penalties including unlimited fines and rent repayment orders.

The licenses issued by the Council protect the safety and well being of tenants by setting minimum standards for facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms as well as safety features such as fire alarms. Licensed HMOs in Northumberland are inspected annually by the council.  

Cllr John Riddle, cabinet member for housing at the council, said: “The changes in the licensing scheme will mean a significant move forward in protecting some of the most vulnerable individuals in the housing market. The council is keen to work with both landlords and tenants to ensure everyone is ready for the changes.”  

Further information on the types of properties that can qualify as HMOs, and details of licensing requirements please visit the Council’s website at 

If you think that the property you own or live at could come under the new licensing requirements then please contact the Council’s Housing and Public Protection Service on 01670 623870 or email as soon as possible.  
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