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Houses in multiple occupation

Houses in multiple occupation, known as HMOs, are defined as:

  • there are 3 or more tenants
  • there are 2 or more households
  • a house, self-contained flat, building or converted building for accommodation where the tenants share facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet
  • any building of self-contained flats which don't meet the 1991 Building Regulations Standard (known as Section 257 HMOs) where less than two thirds of the the flats are owner occupied
  • the property is the tenants only or main residence.

There are some cases other than these which may be considered a HMO. The legal definition of what makes a property an HMO can be found in sections 254 and 257 of the Housing Act 2004.

Failing to licence a property is a criminal offence which may lead to an unlimited fine or a civil penalty of up to £30,000. You could also be subject to a Rent Repayment Order for the period that the property was unlicensed.

What counts as a household?

There are some cases where a household may mean a single person, cohabiting partners, or people living together who are members of the same family.

In some cases people may be considered a single household when not related. This may be where a carer, au pair, nanny or other person is provided with accommodation.Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as being their only or main residence, as would properties used as domestic refuges and hostels.

We have an Amenity Standards guide, available in the related documents section of this page, giving information on the standards that must be met according to how many people live in a property.

HMO register

This is a compact version of the public register, specifically for the internet and it does not contain landlords' details.

Please note that if requested to do so the Council must supply a copy of the public register or an extract from it.  However, everyone has rights with regard to the way in which the data on the register is handled and details cannot be used for marketing purposes or without the consent of the individuals listed on it.   If you wish to view the full register at the Council Offices, you must book an appointment.  Alternatively, we can supply a copy of the full register electronically please email:

The latest HMO register is available to view:

Apply for a HMO licence

Most private landlords that have 5 or more tenants forming two or more households need a licence. This is regardless of how many storeys the building has.Properties managed by the council or housing associations do not need a HMO licence.

The initial fee is £982 for properties up to 6 tenants, and £87 for each additional tenant. A licence usually lasts 5 years.

We aim to consider applications received with the correct fee within 90 days.

Apply for a HMO licence

Renew a HMO licence

You must renew your licence before your current one expires. Make sure you allow enough time for us to review your application, inspect the property, and for the consultation period.

The renewal fee is £577 for properties up to 6 tenants, and £87 for each additional tenant.

Renew a HMO licence

Other ways to contact us about HMO licences

You can contact us about Houses in Multiple Occupation licences by: