Houses in Multiple Occupation

Newport City Council's Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licensing Scheme 2019 (pdf) came into force 1 July 2019 and expires 30 June 2024. 

Newport City Council is reviewing its House in Multiple Occupation Additional Licensing scheme to see if it should be extended for five years from June 2024. To take part in the House in Multiple Occupation Additional Licensing scheme consultation, please complete our online survey.

The consultation period will end 6 February 2024. View the consultation document. (pdf)

View the Additional Licensing scheme public notice (pdf)

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


Read about the type of properties requiring a licence

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

Before the Council can grant a licence, it must determine whether the proposed licence holder, proposed manager or any associated persons are a fit and proper person. To do this the Council will consider any circumstances which may compromise the welfare of the tenants and the good management of the property. It must consider amongst other things:

  • Any previous convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs, fraud, or other dishonesty.
  • If the person has broken laws relating to housing or landlord tenant issues.
  • If the person has been found guilty of unlawful discrimination in connection with the running of a business.
  • If the person has previously managed HMOs and has infringed any Approved Codes of Practice or been refused a licence.

Licences can be refused if these standards are not met. All current and pending prosecutions must be declared as part of the fit and proper test. The fit and proper person test is covered generically in the councils Public Protection Enforcement Policy.

If you or a client is determined as guilty of running an unlicensed HMO, we will submit a fit and proper report to the Regulatory Service Manager (Environment and Community) and will consider the fit and proper test under Section 66 of the Housing Act 2004. Further information on our fit and proper process is included in our HMO application guidance notes (pdf).

If you have any doubts about whether you have to declare a previous conviction, you should contact your local Probation Office, Citizens Advice Bureau or your Solicitor. 

HMO landlords must also register with Rent Smart Wales.

Pre-licence advisory service

We offer a Pre-licence advisory service for people proposing to convert a property to a HMO. 

Apply for HMO licensing

Please read the HMO application guidance notes (pdf) before making an application which: 

  • outline the purpose of licensing
  • define what is a HMO 
  • define exemptions from licensing
  • provide guidance on applying for Temporary Exemption Notices (pdf)
  • outline planning and building regulations requirements
  • outline South Wales Fire and Rescue Service involvement
  • detail requirements of the HMO public register
  • outline HMO licence fees and charges
  • provide guidance on the licence holder and manager
  • provide guidance on the determination of a 'fit and proper' person
  • provide advice on completing the HMO licensing application form
  • detail HMO licensing application supporting documentation including Appendix A: declaration of understanding form (pdf)  
  • detail the HMO licensing application process
  • outline licensing enforcement
  • provide advice on rent repayment orders
  • provide advice on appeals mechanisms

You should also read the HMO Licensing Standards (pdf) which outline:  

  • standards of accommodation
  • general principles of occupation
  • room size requirements
  • outlines facilities for kitchens, bathrooms, shower rooms, water closets
  • heating requirements
  • electrical safety and sockets
  • refuse storage and entitlement
  • fire safety
  • furniture and furnishings requirements
  • ventilation requirements
  • general conditions and management arrangements
  • environmental health housing inspections (see below)
  • HMO licence conditions (pdf)
  • Public protection enforcement policy (pdf)
  • enforcement
  • Rent Smart Wales

Apply for a new HMO Licence

Apply for a HMO Renewal Licence 

PDF versions of the application forms above are available upon request.

HMO Undertaking Form

HMO Temporary Exemption Notice

HMO Manager/Managing Agent

HMO Additional Licensing Variation

Read what is expected of an HMO manager and how to change a manager  

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.

Renting Homes 

The way you rent is changing - for tenants and landlords.

The Renting Homes Act is the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades.

From 1 December 2022 the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will change the way all landlords in Wales rent their properties. It will improve how we rent, manage, and live in rented homes in Wales.

Read more on the Welsh Government website

Rent repayment orders

A rent repayment order (RRO) is a means for tenants and former tenants to reclaim up to twelve months rent where a landlord rents out accommodation which should be licensed but is not.

However the landlord must first be found guilty in court or in a tribunal of committing the offence of renting the accommodation without a licence. Such cases will be taken by the council.

A tenant or former tenant can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal for a rent repayment order to reclaim up to 12 months rent from the landlord. Refer to the advice sheet.

Download the Rent Repayment Order Guide for Tenants (pdf)

HMO public licence register

The Housing Act 2004 requires every local authority to maintain a public register of premises licensed as an HMO.

The below link provides a compact version of the register which is updated weekly.

View the HMO Register spreadsheet (CSV)

Information is also published on the Public Access System which provides all of the details required for each HMO.

Simply select Houses in Multiple Occupation from the category field followed by search and a list of all HMO licences will be generated.

You can also narrow the search by entering details in other fields, for example, entering the application reference for a specific licence, entering the ward name if you are looking for a specific area, or by typing the road name you are looking for in the address of premises field.

To perform a search using a keyword use an asterisk before and after the keyword - e.g. *Jones Street* or *Jones St*.   

Report an unlicensed HMO

HMO inspections 

Council officers will inspect a HMO either because the property has been assessed as being at risk, or after receiving a request for Environmental Health Housing to visit / receiving a complaint.

We will check compliance with licensing conditions (pdf) and the HMO Management Regulations and make an assessment under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

From 1st April 2024 Newport City Council will be charging £32.40 should the agreed person fail to show up for a pre-planned HMO inspection or who fails to provide us with 48 hours’ notice of a cancellation. The responsibility will rest with Owner to pay the charge, even if they have employed a managing agent or third party to meet us at the property.

This includes if access is not permitted to all rooms within the property as a whole – including flats and individual bedrooms. The charge will not be applied if we are denied access by the tenants/contract holders.  If you have received an email from the Environmental Health Housing Team requesting payment.

Pay the HMO inspection charge


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