Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

An HMO is a house or flat which is occupied by three or more people forming two or more households, which means that at least one of the occupiers is not related to the others (two if the owner lives in the property with them).

What is an HMO?

To be an HMO some facilities must be shared, such as a toilet, bathroom or kitchen. In other words, the occupiers do not have these facilities self-contained within their personal accommodation.

Advice for tenants

Advice for landlords

HMO landlords must comply with the HMO Management Regulations(pdf, 89KB) and the local Minimum Amenity Standards(pdf, 380KB).

The Regulations impose duties on a person managing an HMO in respect of:

  • providing information to occupiers
  • taking safety measures, including fire safety
  • maintaining the water supply and drainage
  • supplying and maintaining gas and electricity, including having it regularly inspected
  • maintaining common parts, fixtures, fittings and appliances
  • maintaining living accommodation and
  • providing waste disposal facilities

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places duties on the person having control of an HMO to have fire precautions in place, to make sure the property is safe and to carry out fire risk assessments.

Landlords should read the Guidance for Fire Safety(pdf, 1455KB) and make sure there are appropriate means of escape and fire detection systems according to the type of property and the way it is used. For example, a house containing individual bedsits each with cooking facilities will require a much higher level of protection than a shared house with a single kitchen.

You must make sure:

  • The house is suitable for the number of occupants in terms of size and facilities
  • The manager of the house is considered to be a ‘fit and proper’, for example has no criminal record, has not breached housing laws or codes of practice

You must also:

  • Arrange an Annual Gas Safety check by a Gas Safe Registered engineer and obtain an updated gas safety certificate every year
  • Arrange an electrical safety check by a qualified electrician at least every five years and obtain an updated Periodic Electrical Installation Condition Report
  • Install and maintain smoke alarms on each floor and if necessary in each room (a heat detector in a kitchen)
  • Obtain safety certificates for all portable electrical appliances
  • Provide enough refuse bins for tenants, and written information about the proper storage and collection arrangements of household waste and recycling material

HMO licences

An HMO licence is required if all of the following apply:

  • It is three or more storeys high
  • It has five or more people in more than one household
  • Some or all of the occupants share amenities such as bathrooms, toilets or cooking facilities
  • At least one of the occupants pays rent (or the accommodation is linked to their employment)
  • It is the occupiers' main residence
  • It is not an exempt property such as a student hall of residence or owned or managed by the Council, a social landlord or the NHS.

HMO licence costs

The current fee structure for an HMO licence was introduced by the Council on 22 June 2017. You can read the full background report to the decision to set these fees. 

Standard HMO Licence Fee and Re-Licence Fee
Number of bedrooms ('units of accommodation' or 'households') Fee on application (non refundable) Fee on grant of licence
1 £929 £560
2 £991 £560
3 £1,053 £560
4 £1,115 £560
5 £1,177 £560
6 £1,240 £560
7 £1,302 £560
8 £1,364 £560
9 £1,426 £560
10+ £1,489 £560

When a licence will be granted

Licences will be granted if the:

  • House is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation
  • Applicant is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • Proposed manager has control of the house, and is a fit and proper person to be the manager
  • Management arrangements are satisfactory.

Tacit consent does not apply - this means that you do not acquire a licence just by applying for it - the Council has to approve and issue the licence.

Mandatory and discretionary licence conditions will apply. For more information read our HMO licensing policy(pdf, 94KB). The Council may add other conditions to your licence to improve the standard of the facilities or to make the house safer.

How to apply

To apply for a licence complete our HMO licensing application form (pdf, 291 KB).

Return details are included on the form.


You should first contact us if you have an issue or query regarding an HMO licence application.

You can appeal a decision or make a complaint regarding an HMO licence to the Residential Property Tribunal. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

HMO Register

We maintain a register of licensed HMOs in the borough.

This is the short version of the HMO register giving the property details only. You can check if a property in the borough has an HMO licence. Not all HMOs require a licence.

Please contact us if you think a property should have an HMO licence but is not on this list.


Telephone: 020 8487 5123

Updated: 4 October 2017