More Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) could benefit from improved standards

A new licensing scheme is being considered which could further improve the standard and management of privately-rented homes in York.

York currently has some 3,000 homes in multiple occupation (HMOs). Since 2018, 2,000 or so HMOs with 5 or more occupants who form more than one household, are required to be licensed. To be licensed, the homes must meet minimum national standards of accommodation and management. This proposal is for discretionary powers to be used to extend the same mandatory national conditions to license smaller HMOs, occupied by 3 or 4 individuals from two or more households. 

The proposal aims to benefit landlords and tenants alike. It would raise standards of accommodation including energy rating, fire safety and minimum room sizes to benefit tenants. Such improvements plus training in property management, should also improve the quality and value of the property, and reduce tenant turnover which will benefit landlords.

A cross-party scrutiny committee of councillors will be asked to consider the proposal and its supporting evidence and make recommendations to the council’s Executive. If the proposal to seek to extend mandatory licensing is approved by Executive, it will then be subject to a legally-required ten-week consultation prior to a further report to Executive.

Cllr Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Communities, said: “Providing good quality housing for York residents is a key priority for the council. The private rented sector is a significant part of that provision and HMOs are an important aspect of it. Of those 3,000 HMOs, only one third is currently regulated through mandatory licencing. The evidence demonstrates that licensing has significantly improved the standards in these properties.

“The vast majority of landlords in York are reputable and want to offer good quality homes which are safe. This proposal seeks to provide a level playing field ensuring that all HMOs are well maintained and managed, helping to keep tenants safe and do not negatively impact on neighbouring properties.”

Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee will consider the report on Tuesday 16 February 2021 at 5:30pm. Please see the full report at

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