This is a new service - your feedback will help us to improve it.

Houses in multiple occupation


As part of the HMO licensing application process, Walsall Council will require that independent background checks are undertaken for all proposed licence holders and managers of HMOs.

All applications  must be accompanied by a copy of the Basic Disclosure Certificate.

Where a company is applying to be either the licence holder and/or manager, each Company Director / Partner will be required to undertake a Basic Disclosure.

You can apply online for a Disclosure Certificate (from Disclosure Scotland).


You will need to submit a copy of the disclosure with your HMO application and you should keep a copy of the original disclosure for the duration of the licence.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

The council is responsible for checking HMOs to make sure they are in a satisfactory and safe condition, have satisfactory means of escape from fire, have adequate kitchens and bathrooms and have adequate space and proper management.

What is an HMO?

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a dwelling which is occupied by three or more people, forming two or more households, as their only or main residence and where some of those households share one or more basic amenities.

Examples include:

  • shared houses, occupied by three or more people
  • a house let as individual bed sitting rooms
  • a group of rooms on each floor let to single occupants
  • hostels, some hotels, guesthouses
  • lodgings, and shared houses
  • some houses converted into self-contained flats

Single household or HMO?

A single household is a group of people who are members of the same family, either living together as a couple or close relatives.

Most student lets, professionals sharing, buildings containing bed-sits or non-self contained flats, or any other property with three or more unrelated tenants sharing facilities is likely to be an HMO.

What are the standards?

HMO will have to meet the Council's standards, these include:

  • means of escape in case of fire and other fire precautions (See Homestamp)
  • amenities such as kitchens
  • overcrowding with regards to the number and size of rooms
  • general suitability for occupation
  • management standards
  • gas safety
  • furniture fire safety
  • for up to 4 occupiers, there must be at least one bathroom and toilet (which can be in the bathroom) and where reasonably practicable there must be a wash hand basin with appropriate splash back in each unit.
  • for five or more occupiers, there must be at least one bathroom for every 5 sharers, and a separate toilet for every 5 sharers and where reasonably practicable there must be a wash hand basin with appropriate splash back in each unit.
  • for licensable HMOs they must have an EPC rating of a minimum of E banding

Additional standards for food provision

If you propose to provide your residents with food (for example, breakfast) you will need to register as a food business establishment. Find out how to do this on our starting a food business webpage.

HMO licenses will not be approved and issued for HMOs where food provision is proposed until food business establishment registration has been secured.

Contact information:

Before contacting us, please check to see if we can answer your question from our online information.

  • Address:

    Housing standards service

  • Phone:

    01922 652171

    Open during office hours: 9am to 5pm Mon - Fri

  • Email: