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Additional licensing of HMOs

Renewal of the Additional Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licensing Scheme in Bedford Borough until May 2023


At Bedford Borough Council's Executive meeting on the 13th February 2018 it was agreed to renew the Additional HMO Licensing Scheme for a further 5 years to continue to improve standards for tenants in private rented accommodation.


Building on the success of the current scheme, which has resulted in an overall improvement of safety in private rented accommodation for Bedford tenants, the scheme will continue to include HMOs that are:


  • Occupied by three or more unrelated people sharing amenities such as bathroom facilities or are
  • Properties defined as s257 HMOs consisting of self contained flats converted before 1991 and where than a more than a third of tenancies are shorthold.


What Happens Next?

The Council will be renewing the scheme on the 17th May 2018 and in the meantime the existing scheme will continue to operate.  The scheme will be advertised in the local newspapers for a further 12 weeks and the public designation notice can be seen by clicking on the link below:



If you are an existing landlord you do not need to submit an application for renewal at this stage as the Council will contact you in the coming months to explain how to renew your Additional Licence.


Further Information

You can find out more information by emailing: hmolicensing@bedford.gov.uk.


Approval of the Scheme

Below you can find  a number of useful documents including the Councils formal reply to the public consultation to many of the issues you have raised.  The  Council should like to thank everyone who took the time to give us their comments to help make the scheme better.




House for rent


What is an HMO?

The Housing Act 2004 changed the definition of ‘house in multiple occupation’ (HMO) to include:

  • Traditional bedsit type houses where tenants have their own room or rooms but share something like a bathroom or kitchen.
  • Shared houses where people live as a group but are not a family group.
  • Houses occupied by the owner (residential landlord) plus two or more lodgers or house sharers*
  • Mixtures of rooms and flats in a house – as long as there is some sharing;
  • Flats that are let out to sharers, 3 or more;
  • Hostels, projects and other residential uses that involve adults sharing living space (but not if the property is owned or managed by a Registered Social  landlord).
  • Houses converted into self contained flats where they do not meet the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations, and at least one third of the flats are occupied under shorthold tenancies.


*Two unrelated occupiers living in a house is NOT an HMO. If you are unsure - email hmolicensing@bedford.gov.uk


This is a basic summary and the full definition can be found in the Housing Act 2004, sections 254 – 260 and schedule 14.


For Additional Licensing ALL HMOs will be licensable unless they are exempted.


More information about additional licensing

Additional licensing will require all owners and managers of affected properties to apply for a licence. There will be documents to provide such as gas safety certificates, fire alarm and emergency lighting  test certificates, tenancy agreements and proof of deposit protection. Owners and managers will need to decide who will be the 'licence holder'. They must be a fit and proper person as defined in section 66 of the Housing Act 2004. This is to ensure that people whom own and operate HMOs are fit to do.


HMOs will be inspected during the licence period (5 years) and checked to make sure the standards are compliant. The focus will be on fire, gas and electrical safety, good management practices, good quality shared facilities and rooms that are sufficiently spacious to avoid overcrowding.


Further enquiries

We trust this information is useful to you, however if you have any further questions then please do not hesitate to contact the Environmental Health & Trading Standards Service by the following methods:


By post:

All correspondence should be addressed to:

Community Regulation

Borough Hall

Cauldwell Street

MK42 9AP


By telephone:

(01234) 718516 – you will be connected to the HMO telephone line.

By email:


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