HMO Licensing Requirements and how to apply

Licensing of a House In Multiple Occupation


  1. The Housing Act 2004 made it mandatory for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) to be licensed. The aim of HMO licensing is to ensure that the highest risk properties in the private rental market are identified, meet legal standards and are properly managed, for the benefit of both the landlord and tenants. A landlord must have a licence for a privately rented HMO if the property:

  • Has at least five tenants who live there, forming more than one household
  • They share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

How do I apply for a Licence?

To licence a property, Landlords need to complete an application form and then contact their local Housing Standards Department to make an appointment to submit their application in person if you choose this option.

 The completed application should include:

  • Fire alarm test/commissioning certificate as required by BS5939 (yearly)
  • Emergency lighting test/fire extinguisher commissioning certificate (yearly)
  • Gas Safety certificate (yearly)
  • Periodic test certificate for electrical installation (every 5 years)
  • Scale layout plan of property
  • Portable appliance testing certificate for appliances provided by Landlord
  • Copy of the Tenancy agreement

Icon for pdf SDC HMO Application Form [495.83KB]

Icon for pdf TDBC WSDC HMO Application [509.23KB]

Icon for pdf Items to include with HMO Licence 2018 [194.25KB]

Where possible, these documents can be made available in other formats, including large print, and other languages. 

Failure to obtain / renew your licence, whilst operating a licensable HMO is an offence with unlimited fines. Your tenants may also be able to claim back rent they have paid whilst the HMO has been operating without a licence.

The property may be inspected by an officer in Housing Standards to assess whether the property is suitable for the number of proposed tenants and as to whether the amenities and fire precautions are adequate. We will decide whether or not to grant a licence and if the licence needs to include any conditions requiring any changes

What happens when my licence expires? You have a responsibility to renew your licence. We expect to see the renewal at least 2 months before the expiry of your current licence

Fees and Charges

The Council will make a charge for administering and issuing a licence. Fees must however, reflect the actual costs of licensing a property and have a structure which is fair and transparent. A licence will last a maximum of 5 years, although it may be issued for a shorter period in certain circumstances. Please see below for costs.

Icon for pdf SDC Fees & Charges [40.5KB]

Icon for pdf TDBC / WSDC Fees & Charges [145.86KB]

What if I don't want to continue operating a licence HMO

Landlords wishing to cease operating a licensable HMO can apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN) if they take the appropriate steps to ensure the property will shortly case to require a licence. A written notification or email will be required giving proposals for the property. If granted, a TEN will be in force for 3 months. This can be renewed for a further 3 months, if there is a good case. Once this expires, the HMO must be licensed or the Council must issue an Interim Management Order should it remain licensable.

Amenity Standards and room sizes required for an HMO

Before looking at the standards for HMO's it is important to ensure that the appropriate planning approval has been granted in relation to the type of use in each of the rented properties.

The purpose of the standards below are to inform landlords of their statutory obligations and to advise on how to improve and maintain houses in multiple occupation (HMO's) to an acceptable minimum standard, in both licensed and non-licensable HMO's. They are also the standards for deciding the suitability for occupation of an HMO by a particular maximum number of households or individuals.

Icon for pdf Amenity Standard and room sizes required for an HMO [219.0KB]

For any further guidance, please refer to: