Houses in multiple occupancy

From 2006, all owners of HMO’s in Amber Valley which were occupied by 5 or more residents, who are not forming a single household, where the building was 3 storeys or more have been required to hold a mandatory licence under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004.

From 1 October 2018, landlords of HMO’s occupied by 5 or more residents, not from a single household, regardless of number of stories will need to have applied for a licence.

Amber Valley Borough Council currently does not operate any selective licensing schemes.

The definition of a HMO is contained within Sections 254-259 of the Housing Act 2004.

It generally includes:

  • A building where at least three people, forming two or more households who occupy the living accommodation and share one or more basic amenity, or the living accommodation is lacking one or more basic amenity;
  • The living accommodation is occupied by persons who do not form a single household;
  • A building, or part of a building which consists of one or more units of living accommodation not consisting of self-contained flats;
  • Buildings converted into self-contained flats if more than one third of the flats are tenanted and the conversion does not comply with Building Regulations 1991 or subsequent Building Regulations. See Section 257 of the Act (please note, Section 257 HMO’s are not included in mandatory licensing)

For the purposes of the Housing Act 2004, the following are considered to be ‘households’:

Members of the same family living together including;

  • Couples married to each other or living together as husband and wife (or in an equivalent relationship in the case of persons of the same sex)
  • Relatives living together, including parents, grandparents, children (and step-children), grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or cousins.
  • Half-relatives will be treated as full relatives. A foster child living with his foster parent is treated as living in the same household as his foster parent.

Any domestic staff are also included in the household if they are living rent-free in accommodation provided by the person for whom they are working.

Therefore, three friends sharing together are considered three households. If a couple are sharing with a third person, that would consist of two households. If a family rents a property that is a single household, and if they had an au-pair to look after their children they would be part of the same household.

There is government guidance relating to the process.

A landlord who fails to apply for a licence by 1 October 2018 will be committing a criminal offence.

From 1 August 2018, the updated application form and guidance will be available to enable landlords to begin the application process. Completed applications must be received by 1 October 2018.  The council will aim to make a decision on the licence application within 8 weeks, and will intend to carry out an inspection of the premises to check it’s suitability during this time frame.

On 20 June 2018, Amber Valley Borough Council agreed at full council to adopt the HMO Licensing Policy 2018.

Appendix 1 shows details of the council’s HMO fees policy and Appendix 2 shows the amenity and space standard adopted in the borough.

After 1 October 2018, where HMO’s are found which meet the criteria for licensing, but an application for a licence has not been made, action shall be taken in line with the council’s enforcement policy and civil penalties and rent repayment orders policy.

The fee to apply for a licence is £385.10. A licence will be granted where:

  • The house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation
  • The applicant is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • The proposed manager has control of the house, and is a fit and proper person to be the manager
  • The management arrangements are satisfactory

Once a decision is made to approve a licence then a secondary fee is £267.90.

You can apply online via the website, please visit: 

Alternatively you can download a paper version of this form and return this to
David Arkle - Amber Valley Borough Council, Town Hall, Ripley, Derbyshire DE5 3BT.

Please consult the guidance notes for applicants for further information to prepare for this change.

Tacit consent does not apply as it is in the public interest that the council must process your application before it can be granted.  It is our aim to do this within 56 days of a full application being received.  If you haven’t had a response within this time, please contact the council.

Failed application or licence holder redress - please contact the housing team in the first instance.  You may also appeal to the upper tier tribunal regarding your failed application or relating to the conditions attached to the licence of any decision to vary or revoke the licence.  Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.  For more information please visit the Justice website.

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 841335 or email