Private rented property licensing

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

What is an HMO?

A house in multiple occupation (commonly referred to as "HMOs") is a property occupied by three or more persons living as two or more separate households. HMOs can vary greatly in size, occupation and layout. Examples of HMO properties include shared houses, buildings containing bedsits, hostels and some buildings converted into self-contained flats.

Mandatory HMO licensing

Mandatory houses in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing applies to certain larger HMOs.

You will need a mandatory HMO licence if you are a landlord or managing agent of a rented property that is occupied by five or more people in two or more households that share (or lack) toilet, personal washing facilities (i.e. bath or shower) or cooking facilities.

Additional HMO licensing

Additional houses in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing applies to certain smaller HMOs.

From 1 April 2022, you will need an additional HMO licence if you are a landlord or managing agent of a rented property that is occupied by three or more persons in two or more households that share (or lack) toilet, personal washing facilities (i.e. bath or shower) or cooking facilities. This excludes houses in multiple occupation that require a mandatory licence.

You will also need an additional HMO licence if you are a freeholder, leaseholder or a person in control of a block of flats that:

  • Has been converted entirely into self-contained flats, and
  • The conversion works do not comply with the appropriate building standards (Building Regulations 1991 or later).

Such converted buildings only need to be licensed where all flats are privately rented and under the same ownership or control, or considered by the council to effectively be under the same ownership or control. This includes buildings within mixed use developments or above non-residential premises. An additional HMO licence is not required where a building has been converted into no more than two flats

Please note that if any of the flats in the building meet the description of a mandatory or additional HMO, those flats will need to be licensed separately.

View the additional licensing designation (PDF)