HMO (houses in multiple occupation) licences

HMOs are houses in which many unrelated people live.

The Housing Act 2004 requires large Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to be licensed. Licences aim to ensure minimum standards of safety and maintenance for HMOs. For more information, see the Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) page on the Shelter website.

From 1 October 2018, mandatory licensing of HMOs has been extended so that smaller properties used as HMOs in England which house 5 people or more in 2 or more separate households will in many cases require a licence.

New mandatory conditions to be included in licences have also been introduced, prescribing national minimum sizes for rooms used as sleeping accommodation and requiring landlords to adhere to council refuse schemes.

Information and guidance

Guide for HMO landlords - on GOV.UK.

Guide for HMO tenants (PDF, 320KB)

HMO East London guidance (PDF, 30KB)

Penalties for non-compliance

It is illegal to operate an HMO without a licence (unless it is an HMO that does not need a licence). The courts can impose a fine of up to £30,000 on the landlord of an unlicensed HMO. In addition, the tenants will be able to reclaim up to 12 months rent.

If an HMO should be licensed but isn’t, the landlord cannot serve notice to quit on a tenant until the licence has been obtained.

HMO public register

The Housing Act 2004 requires that local authorities hold a public register of all registered HMO’s. Our register can be viewed online.

Public register for HMO licences

Planning Permission

An application for a property licence is not one for planning permission. You will need planning permission if you are changing your property from a single-family property to a house in multiple occupation (HMO). You also need planning permission if you are splitting up a property into smaller self-contained units of accommodation. Please contact our planning department at or seek independent legal advice if you are unclear whether you have the correct planning permission for the development you intend to rent out.  

Equality monitoring

We want to ensure that we are providing a service to all sections of the community and would appreciate your assistance by completing and returning our monitoring form.

HMO monitoring form (PDF, 51KB)

HMO licence fees

For each application for a 5 year licence Application fee - Part A Part B payment Fee for assistance with application (including form completion)
Up to 5 habitable rooms £1000 £300 £161.50 + £7.50 per room
6 to 9 habitable rooms £1000 £400 £171.50 + £7.50 per room
10 to 14 habitable rooms £1000 £500 £182 + £7.50 per room
15 to 19 habitable rooms £1000 £600 £192 + £7.50 per room
20 or more habitable rooms £1000 £700 £202 + £7.50 per room