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Houses in multiple occupation

Houses in multiple occupation are commonly known as HMOs.

An HMO is defined as a building, or part of a building (for example a flat), which is let to three or more persons forming two or more households where:

  • more than one household shares an amenity such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities or;
  • is occupied by more than one household, is a converted building and does not entirely contain self-contained flats or
  • contains converted self-contained flats and the standard of the conversion does not meet the Building Regulations 1991, and more than one third of the flats are occupied by tenants.

Households are defined as:

  • families including single persons, co-habiting couples and other blood related relatives;
  • any other relationship that may be prescribed by regulation, such as fostering or carer arrangements.

HMO licensing

HMOs must be licensed where they are occupied by five persons or more in two or more households.

This includes any HMO which is a building or a converted flat where householders share amenities such as a toilet, personal washing facilities or cooking facilities.

It also applies to purpose built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both are occupied as an HMO.

All licensed HMOs can be viewed on the Public Register by contacting the Private Sector Housing team.

    HMO standards

    Whether your HMO needs a licence or not, it must meet our HMO standards.

    Planning legislation

    Where there are more than six tenants planning permission is required.

    How to apply for a licence

    A licence usually lasts for a five-year period, after which it must be renewed by the licence holder.

    To apply for an HMO licence, please contact us first to discuss the property and what’s required.

    The HMO licence application can be found on the GOV.UK website.

    We will need several documents from you as part of your application:

    • tenancy agreement/your standard tenancy agreement
    • current electrical installation condition report
    • gas safety certificate, if there is gas to the property
    • inspection and test certificate for the fire alarm
    • inspection and test certificate for the emergency lighting (if present)

    Licence fee

    The cost of a new licence varies depending on the number of occupants and whether it is accredited by our PAL scheme.

    For new HMO licences, where the business approaches us to licence the HMO or a property is being converted into an HMO, the fee charge is shown in the first and second lines of the table below, depending on whether the HMO has 5 tenants, or 6 or more tenants.

    If we discover an unlicensed HMO that has been used as such for 28 days, and no application to licence it has been received, then the fee charge is higher. This will be the unlicensed fee shown in the third and fourth lines of the table, for either 5 tenants or 6 or more tenants

    Occupancy Licence fee PAL fee
    5 tenants £575 £515
    6 or more tenants £675 £615
    Unlicensed HMO 5 tenants £720 not applicable
    Unlicensed HMO 6 or more tenants £820 not applicable

    How to renew a licence

    If there have been no changes to the premises or licence details, you may complete the re-licencing declaration form.

    If there have been changes for example to the licence-holder or the person managing the property, you will need to complete the HMO licence application form.

    Renewal fees

    The renewal of an existing licence is charged at the following rates:

    Occupancy Licence fee PAL fee
    5 tenants £460 £400
    6 or more tenants £560 £500

    What happens if a property changes hands

    Licences are not transferable as it relates to the person responsible for holding it, and not the property itself, and so the new owner must apply for the licence.

    Some documents on this page may not be in an accessible format. If you require any documents in an accessible format, please complete our online form to request them.