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Additional Licensing in Cathays


What is an HMO?

The Housing Act 2004 changed the definition of House In Multiple Occupation. It does not matter whether your tenants are all on one contract or each on individual agreements.

A building, or part of a building, will be an HMO if:

  • it is occupied by persons who do not form a single household*, and
  • it is occupied by those persons as their only or main residence**, and
  • rent is payable by at least one of the occupiers, and
  • two or more households share one or more basic amenities***

Purpose built blocks of self contained flats are not HMOs, but houses or buildings which have been converted into a block of flats may be a HMO if:

  • the standard of conversion does not comply with the 1991 Building Regulations; and
  • less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied.
  • This is a simplified version of the definition. The full definition can be found in sections 254 and 259 of the Housing Act 2004.

*Single Household

Persons who are all members of the same family (i.e. they are married or cohabiting, regardless of their sex or one of them is the parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the other)

**Premises occupied as the only or main residence

This definition includes students undertaking a full-time course of further or higher education; those occupying refuges; foster children; children being cared for and current domestic employees (e.g. nannies, au pairs, servants)

***Basic Amenities

Toilet, personal washing facilities, cooking facilities

Exemptions to HMO definitions

A building will not be an HMO:

  • If it is occupied by only two people.
  • If it is occupied by the owner (and their family if any) and one or two lodgers.
  • If it is occupied by a religious community
  • If the occupiers have their own residences elsewhere
  • If no one in the property is required to pay rent
  • If the owner or manager is a public body
  • If the owner or manager is an educational institution
  • A building of self contained flats if two thirds or more of the flats are owner-occupied
  • If the property is part of a guesthouse or hostel (unless an ‘HMO Declaration’ is made).

An individual flat can be classed as a Flat in Multiple Occupation (FMO) if the flat is lived in by people who belong to more than one family* and who share one or more facilities***

A FMO located in Cathays will require a licence under the new Additional Licensing scheme.

Person having control?

The person having control is the person who receives at least two thirds of the market rent or would receive it if it were let at a market rent. This will normally be the owner.

Person managing?

A manager of a property is either an individual or a company who are involved in all or some of the following.

  1. Dealing with maintenance required at the property
  2. Arranging for repairs to be carried out
  3. Dealing with tenant’s queries and requests.

In addition to the above to be classed as a manager they must also collect or receive rent(s) or other payments from the tenants.

Fit and proper person

In deciding to issue a licence Cardiff Council must be satisfied that the proposed licence holder is “a fit and proper person to be the licence holder” and that the proposed manager is “a fit and proper person to be the manager of the house”

There are certain specifics which Cardiff Council will have to consider, such as evidence that the proposed licence holder or manager has:

  1. Committed any offence involving fraud or other dishonesty, violence or drugs and certain types of sexual offences.
  2. Practiced unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sex, colour, race, ethnic or national origins or disability, in connection with the carrying out of business.
  3. Contravened any provision of housing or landlord and tenant law, or
  4. Acted otherwise than in accordance with an approved code of practice This information must be provided about both the proposed manager and the proposed licence holder at the time of application.

Cardiff Council required either a Criminal Records Bureau certificate dated within the last 12 months or if an applicant does not have a CRB check they may apply for a Basic Disclosure at

Most appropriate person to hold a licence?

The Housing Act 2004 states that the “person having control” is the most appropriate person to hold the licence. Managing agents will not normally hold licences because they do not receive two thirds of the rent and are not therefore persons having control. However, we must still be satisfied that they are fit and proper.

There is a presumption that the landlord will be the licence holder unless there is evidence that he is not the most suitable person to hold the licence.

If for some reason you feel you are unable to hold a licence then the Council may award a licence to a manager that you appoint. The Council may allow this if, for example, we have determined that you are not a fit and proper person to hold a licence or perhaps because you live abroad or are in some way incapable of effectively managing the HMO.

Relevant Persons and Interested Parties

The following persons must be notified of any applications and will receive a copy of the licence from the council.

  1. The Landlord
  2. Any other owner of the premises to which the application related.
  3. Any person who is a leaseholder of any part of the premises to which the application relates, (unless that person is the applicant) other than a tenant under a lease with an expired term of 3 years or less.
  4. Any freeholders
  5. Any mortgagee
  6. The proposed licence (unless he/she is the applicant)
  7. The proposed managing agent
  8. Any person who has agreed to be bound by the conditions in a licence if granted.

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