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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.

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 £700 for properties up to 6 tenants, and £50 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 £450 for properties up to 6 tenants, and £50 for each additional tenant.

Renew a HMO licence

Vary a HMO licence

Variations to a licence cost £100.

Vary a HMO licence

Other ways to contact us about HMO licences

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