About Houses in Multiple Occupation

An HMO under the Housing Act 2004 is defined as: a property that is occupied by persons who do not form a single household and where at least two or more of the households share one or more basic facilities such as personal washing, WC, or cooking facilities. Therefore, if you rent your property out to several tenants who aren’t members of the same family, it may be an HMO. If so, you may need to apply to us for a licence or you may be fined. The licence usually lasts for five years. Mandatory licensing requirements apply if the property is occupied by 5 or more people in two or more households.

An 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

As an HMO landlord you must ensure that:

  • you have fire safety measures in place and a fire risk assessment for the property
  • you have an annual gas safety certificate
  • you have a five-year electrical safety certificate
  • you deal with any repairs to the structure, fixtures and fittings
  • your property isn’t overcrowded
  • your tenant’s deposits are protected in a Government approved deposit scheme (DPS, MyDeposits or TDS)
  • your property manager/agent is signed up to one of the Government’s approved redress schemes.

As a Council we have developed our amenity standards for any property that may be an HMO, licensable or non-licensable. This guidance acts to address hazards under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System.

An HMO licence is £505 per property with up to five bedrooms, if you are a member of Barnsley Landlord Accreditation Scheme, we will reduce the fee to £405. If the property has more than five bedrooms, we will charge an additional £50 per bedroom. If you require us to carry out a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check this will be an extra £70. You can apply for an HMO licence online via our website. Once you have applied for your licence your details will be added to the Council’s register of HMOs.

For more information on HMOs, you can contact the Shared Accommodation Team.

Article 4 Direction

Barnsley Council made an Article 4 Direction on 14th May 2020, under Article 4(1) of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. The Article 4 direction came into force on 24th June 2021. The Article 4 Direction was introduced to manage the concentration of HMOs in the borough.

This means development consisting of a change of use to a building currently used as a dwelling house (Class C3) to an HMO (Class C4) is no longer deemed as permitted development under Class L(b) of part 3 of Schedule 2 of Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.

If your property was not already an established HMO (Class C4) prior to the Article 4 Direction coming into force, then a change of use planning application would be required. However, if you can provide evidence that it was an HMO (Class C4) prior to the Article 4 Direction coming into force then an application for a Lawful Development Certificate could be submitted along with the evidence.

Other planning rules still apply for all HMOs with 7 or more occupants.

Further information on how to apply and the criteria can be found on our website.