Licence for a House in Multiple Occupancy

To have multiple occupants in a house in Scotland, you need a licence from South Ayrshire Council.

If you rent a house to multiple occupants in Scotland you will need a licence from South Ayrshire Council if the property has three or more unrelated occupants and it is their main residence.

This applies whether or not the landlord lives at the property.

You can only give permission for a house to be used under multiple occupancy if:

  • you are the owner of the house
  • you knowingly give permission for it to be occupied
  • the house is a house in multiple occupation

You must be a fit and proper person to hold a licence and not be disqualified from holding a licence.

If the licence is for an activity that is being managed for or carried on for a person who would not be granted a licence the licence will be refused.

The premises must be suitable. The following will be taken into consideration when deciding if the premises are suitable:

  • the location, character and condition of the premises
  • the type of proposed activity/occupation
  • the kinds of people who will live in the premises
  • the possibility of public nuisance
  • public order and safety

Will Tacit Consent apply?

By Law, the Council must process an HMO licence application within twelve months, unless official authority to exceed this timescale has been granted by the Sheriff. If the Council fails to determine an application within twelve months, plus any period of extension granted by the Court, then the licence will be deemed to be granted unconditionally.

Apply to licence a house in multiple occupation

The links below take you to another website which processes these applications on behalf of South Ayrshire Council

Alternative, downloadable forms are also available:

What happens next?

Before considering an application South Ayrshire Council must have received all the required supporting documentation before the application is considered lodged.

Except in the case of a house that is to be used as a women's refuge the applicant must put up a notice near the premises for 21 days beginning with the date of the application. This must state that an application has been made, details of the application, eg the applicant's name and address, that objections and representations can be made and how they can be made. Once the notice has been up for 21 days the applicant must submit a certificate of compliance to South Ayrshire Council. South Ayrshire Council will need the certificate before they can make a final decision on the application.

South Ayrshire Council will send a copy of the application to the local chief constable and to the appropriate relevant authority (or where applicable the enforcing authority under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005).

The enforcing or relevant authority may be the Health & Safety Executive, the fire service or South Ayrshire Council.

If the application is for a property that will be used as a women's refuge South Ayrshire Council will give notice in writing to people who reside in the vicinity of the premises.

We would expect to process your application within 1 year. If South Ayrshire Council fails to make a decision within 1 year the application will be deemed successful.

What if I have been refused approval?

Please contact South Ayrshire Council using the contact details below in the first instance.

If you wish to make representations about an application you must do so in writing to South Ayrshire Council within 28 days of either, the application, the date the application was advertised or any other date given, whichever is later.

If you wish to appeal against a decision you may do so to the local sheriff within 28 days of the decision. The sheriff can only uphold an appeal if they consider that the South Ayrshire Council:

  • erred in law
  • based their decision on an incorrect material fact
  • acted contrary to natural justice
  • exercised their discretion in an unreasonable manner

Appeals against a sheriff's decision can be made to the Court of Session within 28 days of the decision.

Other complaints

If you wish to complain about a licence holder then please use the contact details below.

Who to contact

Chris Carroll
Private Sector and Landlord Registration Officer
Housing and Facilities
South Ayrshire Council
2-6 The Cross
Prestwick KA9 1AN
Tel: 01292 272020