Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) represent a significant segment of the private rental market in Stoke-on-Trent, catering primarily to students, professionals, and low-income groups who share housing facilities. To ensure that these living arrangements provide a safe and comfortable environment, stringent licensing requirements and regulations have been implemented under the Housing Act 2004. This blog aims to explain the process and requirements for obtaining an HMO licence in Stoke-on-Trent, helping landlords to navigate the system efficiently.

Key Legal Standards for HMOs

Before applying for an HMO licence, landlords must ensure that their property adheres to the minimum legal standards outlined in the Housing Act 2004. These standards are extensive, covering essential areas such as bathroom facilities, WCs, kitchens, fire safety, and heating. Beyond these foundational requirements, Stoke-on-Trent City Council has adopted its own HMO Amenity Standards, which provide granular details about compliance. These standards are designed to ensure that accommodations are not only safe but also well-managed, offering a reasonable standard of facilities and adequate living space for occupants.

If you would like a free copy of the HMO compliance guidelines, you can obtain one here:

The Application Process

To initiate the licensing process, landlords must submit a comprehensive application form along with necessary supporting documentation and the corresponding fee. The application must be filed with the local council that has jurisdiction over the HMO’s location. Part of this process includes notifying all relevant persons, such as existing tenants or mortgagees, who have an interest in the property.

Once the application is received, the council will review it and possibly request additional information. If the application meets all criteria, the council issues an HMO licence valid for up to five years. It’s crucial to note that the licensing fee is strictly used to cover the costs associated with the licensing process and cannot be allocated to other council activities.

Compliance and Enforcement

Complying with the conditions of the HMO licence is not merely a regulatory formality but a legal obligation. Failure to comply can lead to severe penalties, including enforcement actions by the council. In cases of significant non-compliance, the council may also refuse to renew a licence. Therefore, maintaining high standards and adhering to all licensing conditions is imperative for landlords.

Additional Licensing Schemes

Stoke-on-Trent City Council also reserves the right to impose ‘Additional HMO’ licensing or ‘Selective Licensing’ schemes. These schemes are typically deployed to address specific concerns in the private rented sector, such as poor property management, low housing demand, antisocial behaviour, or adverse socio-economic conditions. Landlords should stay informed about these schemes, as they may carry additional requirements.

Applying for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licence in Stoke-On-Trent requires careful preparation to ensure compliance with all legal requirements. Below is a streamlined guide to assist landlords in submitting a valid licence application.

Steps to Apply for an HMO Licence

Application Completion

Landlords must start by completing the application form in full and paying the initial part of the application fee. All supporting documentation must be included. The application can be done online.

Providing Required Information

The application must list contact details for all key stakeholders, including:

  • Applicant and proposed licence holder
  • Property managers
  • Owners or joint owners
  • Long-term tenants or leaseholders
  • Any individuals agreeing to comply with licence conditions
  • Mortgage providers with account details

It is essential to inform all these parties of your intent to apply for a licence before submission, noting the date each was informed.

Additional Details

Applicants must also disclose:

  • Criminal records of the applicant, licence holder, and managers
  • Relevant qualifications, accreditations, and memberships
  • Details about the property’s facilities and the deposit protection scheme used
  • Required Documents

You must provide the following documents:

  • Photo ID of the proposed licence holder or a company director
  • Proof of address, such as a council tax statement
  • Current, valid certificates for gas and electrical safety
  • Fire alarm and emergency lighting test certificates
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Documentation from any building control-approved works
  • Full certificates, including all pages, are necessary.


After Submission

Processing and Inspection

The council will process your application, which may involve contacting you to complete the process or arrange a property inspection. The target for processing applications is within 12 weeks, provided all documentation is complete.

Drafting and Approval of Licence

After inspection, the council will draft licence conditions and share a draft licence for consultation. You’ll have the opportunity to make representations about this draft.

Issuance of Licence

Once all feedback has been considered, the council issues the HMO licence, known as the decision notice, and distributes it to all relevant parties.

Compliance and Re-inspections

Annual submission of updated certificates is required. Council will perform re-inspections to ensure compliance with licence conditions. Non-compliance is an offence.


Should you disagree with any licence conditions, you have the right to appeal to the first-tier property tribunal.

This process ensures that HMOs in Stoke-On Trent meet high standards, providing safe and well-managed housing.

The process of obtaining an HMO license in Stoke-on-Trent is structured to ensure that landlords provide accommodations that meet stringent safety and living standards. By following these guidelines, landlords not only contribute positively to the housing market but also ensure the welfare of their tenants. The entire process, from application submission to approval, can take up to 12 weeks, depending on various factors, including the need for property inspections and the completeness of the application.

In conclusion, while the process might seem daunting at first, understanding and adhering to the requirements can significantly streamline the experience. Landlords are encouraged to view these regulations as steps towards higher quality and safer accommodation options in Stoke-on-Trent’s vibrant rental sector.

Get help with your property

Just complete our super simple online form and we’ll be in touch, pronto.

Click here

Become a successful investor

Achieve your property dream. Hands-off. Stress-free.

Discovery Day
Why Invest in Stoke-on-trent?
Adding an extra £1400 profit for this investor
Successfully Invest in Property in Stoke-on-Tren
Managing Property Properly in Stoke-on-Trent

Seen a room you like?

If one of our house shares has taken your fancy and you want to book a viewing, here’s what you need to do next…

rooms to rent

1. Complete our simple online form

It’s really straightforward. Click the orange button below and tell us your contact details. Plus, of course, which room you want to view and your preferred date and time.

rooms to rent

2. The lovely Debbie will be in touch, pronto

Debbie will check if we have availability on the day you’ve requested. If we have, happy days. If not, she’ll book you a viewing at a time that’s convenient.

property manager

3. View the property with Pieter

Our Director, Pieter, will give you a tour of the house and room you’re interested in. We’ll be in touch on the day of the viewing to check you’re still OK to attend.

Click here to book a viewing