Licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

Which HMOs must be licensed?

Since 1 October 2018 mandatory licensing for houses in multiple occupation (HMO) is no longer limited to HMOs that are three or more storeys high, but also includes buildings with one or two storeys.

A property will require a mandatory HMO license if:

  • it is rented to five or more people from more than one household; and

the HMO is either:

  • A building where a tenant shares a basic amenity (i.e. toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities) or their living accommodation lacks a basic amenity. (e.g. shared house arrangement)
  • A self-contained flat where a tenant shares a basic amenity.  Excluding purpose-built flats that are situated in a block of three or more self-contained flats.
  • A building that has been converted and one or more of the units of accommodation is not self-contained.  (e.g. bed-sit type arrangement).

The legislation that details which HMOs require a mandatory HMO licence is available on our Applying for a HMO licence page.

How to apply for a HMO licence

Visit our Applying for a HMO licence page for information on how to apply for a HMO licence OR to renew an existing licence.

What happens if you fail to apply for a HMO licence?

It is a criminal offence to be in control of, or be managing a house in multiple occupation, which is not licensed but is required to be so.

These are a range of sanctions that could be imposed on you:

  • An unlimited fine upon prosecution and given a criminal record
  • A civil penalty of up to £30,000
  • You could be banned from running a rental property
  • Stopped from using Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 to evict your tenant
  • Payback rent received over the last 12 months to the council or the tenants