Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

HMO Licensing

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a house or flat rented by three or more people who form two or more households and share facilities such as a bathroom, toilet or kitchen. For the purposes of Mandatory Licensing, a Licensable HMO is a house or flat rented by five or more people who form two or more households where facilities are shared.

Managing a Licensable HMO without a Licence is a criminal offence – landlords could face a penalty of up to £30,000 or criminal prosecution, to which further costs could be added. A Rent Repayment Order (RRO) can also be sought by tenants to claim back rent they have paid to you. 

An application for an HMO Licence costs £100, and a further £725 is payable on grant of a Licence. An HMO Licence application will be determined within 62 days of us receiving a valid and completed application form with the correct fee. 

Licenced HMOs have a set of conditions to which they must adhere. This is with the aim of improving the overall safety of the property. 

You will need an HMO Licence where all of the following apply to a property:

  • There are five or more occupants
  • There is more than one household
  • Occupants share amenities such as a kitchen, toilet or bathroom

Under the Housing Act 2004, a ‘household’ comprises:

  • A single person
  • Co-habiting couples (including same-sex couples)
  • A family (including foster children and children being cared for) and current domestic employees.

For example, a four-bedroom house with one couple and three single occupants who share a kitchen/bathroom/toilet would require a Licence.  

Exemptions to HMO Licensing

The Housing Act 2004 and associated regulations list certain exemptions from HMO Licensing including:

  • Any property occupied by just two people who form two households
  • Buildings managed by a local housing authority, registered social landlord, police or fire & rescue authority or a health service body
  • Buildings already regulated under certain other statutory provisions (Schedule 1 to SI 2006 Number 373)
  • Certain student halls of residence
  • Buildings occupied principally for the purposes of a religious community whose principle occupation is prayer, contemplation, education or the relief of suffering
  • Buildings which are owner occupied with no more than two lodgers

Please use the flowchart below to decide whether you may be required to obtain a licence.

A 5 year HMO Licence will cost £825 (£100 application fee followed by £725 HMO Licence fee) and a 5 year licence renewal will cost £514. The Council cannot profit from mandatory licensing – these costs have been calculated according to the cost in administration and resources used in the processing of licensing applications. Following your application for a Licence, the information and certification will be checked and an inspection will be arranged. Following satisfactory conditions, you and any other person with an interest in the property will be issued with a draft licence (a 'proposal') which will provide 14 days to make any representation. If we do not receive any representation after 14 days have elapsed, the proposed licence will be granted. 

Please read the Amenity and Facility Standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation document

Download the flowchart

For further information, please read the 'Government guidance on the reforms to the Mandatory Licensing of HMO's' [external link].

In the event that you have made an application for a HMO licence in error or that your property is not licensable, you may be eligible for a refund of the application fee minus administration costs of £49.00.

Download the application form

Access the Public Register for HMO Licences