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House in multiple occupation

Your home is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if:

  • at least 3 tenants live there forming more than one household; and
  • you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

A household can mean either a single person or members of the same family who live together and people in same-sex relationships.

If you live in a HMO, your landlord must meet certain standards and obligations. You can find out more about these standards and obligations from Shelter (external link)

Does a HMO have to be licensed?

A HMO must be licensed if:

  • the living accommodation is spread over 3 floors including basement and loft conversions; and
  • the property is occupied by five or more people forming two or more households

The council keeps a register of all licensed HMOs in the borough. Download the HMO Licence Register (PDF 44.5kb)

If your property is not on the register and you think it should be licensed, contact the Private Sector Housing Team for further advice.

What happens if a landlord does not licence a HMO?

It is a criminal offence to manage or control a HMO that should be licensed but is not. The council will provide the landlord with an opportunity to apply for a licence before considering prosecution. If a landlord is convicted of not licensing the property the fine can be up to £20,000. In addition, the landlord may have to pay back all the rent received during the time the property was not licensed (up to a maximum of 12 months).

Are there any controls on HMOs which do not need a licence?

All HMOs have to managed in accordance with The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006, irrespective of whether they need to be licensed. Failure to comply with these regulations could see the landlord fined up to £5,000. 

I am a landlord, how do I apply for a licence?

Contact us to assess if a licence is required.

If you know the property needs a licence or your current licence is due for renewal, you can download a HMO Licence Application Form (PDF 41.7kb) and submit it along with the required fee of £350.