Houses in multiple occupation

The council operates a licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

A property must have a licence if there are three or more unrelated people forming more than two households in the same building.

The aim of the licensing scheme is to make sure that:

  • landlords or their managers are fit and proper people

  • properties are suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence

  • the standard of management of the HMO is adequate

  • high risk HMOs can be identified and targeted for improvement

Licences can be refused if these standards are not met.

HMO landlords must also register with Rent Smart Wales.

Public licence register

Follow the link below to look at current HMO licensed properties:

  • select Advanced
  • select Licenses
  • category HMO

Type the road name you are looking for in 'address of premises' making sure you include an asterisk before and after, e.g. *Chepstow Road*  - then select 'search' to see all licences for this road.

View current HMO licences


Please download and read the HMO application guidance notes before making an application.

Apply for a HMO Licence (pdf)

Under government rules the cost of operating the licensing scheme may be paid for by charging a fee which is given in the guidance notes above.

The property has to conform to the standards adopted by the council and planning permission may also be needed for houses in multiple occupation.

Under the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, shared houses with 3 or more occupiers or properties converted into flats or bedsits need planning consent. 

It is the responsibility of the owner or person in control of the property to make sure that the necessary planning or building regulation approvals have been obtained.  

It is an offence under Section 72 (1) of the Housing Act 2004 for a person in control or managing an HMO which is required to be licensed but is not and can be subject to an unlimited fine on conviction.

Houses requiring a licence

Shared houses

Where occupiers live together as a group, each with their own bedroom but sharing all other facilities including a communal living space.


Where occupiers share a bathroom, toilet, kitchen etc, but otherwise live independently of others.

Converted self-contained flats

Where the conversion does not meet the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations and less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied.

Occupiers live in a self-contained unit, sharing no facilities or amenities, often behind one access door off a common area.

Individual flats occupied by three or more unrelated people

Where occupiers live together as a group, each with exclusive use of a bedroom but sharing all other facilities, including a communal living space within the flat.

This applies even if the property has been converted to the 1991 Building Regulations.

Hostels, guesthouses, bed and breakfast

Occupiers have no other permanent place of residence within the UK.

Includes properties used by local councils to house homeless people.

Resident landlords

A landlord living in the same building as three or more unrelated people.

Also any combination of the above property types which make up the same building.

HMO licensing relates to the number of unrelated people occupying a property and is not affected by joint tenancy agreements, company let agreements, council tax payee responsibility, housing benefit claimants, homeless.

Single households

Section 258 of the Housing Act 2004 specifies when people are regarded as not forming a single household.

To count as a single household, people must be members of the same family, including married couples, or those living as husband and wife, including those in an equivalent same sex relationship, or where one of them is a relative of the other, e.g. parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece or cousin, and half relatives, step-children and foster children.  


Converted self-contained flats that meet the 1991 Building Regulations onwards - a certificate of completion is required as proof.

Any house which is occupied by people who form only two households.

Any house which is occupied by no more than two people in addition to the responsible person and any other member of his household, i.e. only two lodgers would be allowed in addition to the owner and their family.

Converting or buying a HMO

The council offers a free advisory pre-licence inspection service

If you are thinking of converting a property to an HMO the council offers a free advisory pre-licence inspection service.

A council officer will inspect the property and give you a schedule of work to consider. 

There is no obligation on you to complete the work if the property is not subsequently multi-occupied. 

To arrange a pre-licence inspection email

Some property conversions may need planning or building regulations approval and you will need to seek advice from the relevant department.


Contact Newport City Council and ask for the environmental health team.