Landlord licences

Private landlords are responsible for ensuring they have appropriate licences for their properties if applicable. 

Currently only landlords who rent houses in multiple occupation (HMO) need a licence.

Notify us of a suspected HMO without a licence

HMO licences

Read more about Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

An HMO Licence is required for a property if all of the following apply:

  • It has five or more occupiers comprising two or more separate households, regardless of number of storeys
  • It is a house or self-contained flat but is not a purpose-built flat situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats
  • 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

Operating a licensable HMO without a licence is an offence which can be dealt with by a financial penalty or a conviction in court.

From 1 October 2018, mandatory licensing is no longer limited to HMOs that are three or more storeys high, but includes buildings with one or two storeys.

Pre-application advice about Houses in Multiple Occupation

The information on these web pages should provide most of the advice required by landlords who wish to manage an HMO.  If the information you require cannot be found here, the Environmental Health (Private Sector Housing) Service is able to answer brief queries about HMO licensing. Please send your enquiry to privatehousing@merton.gov.uk and a reply will be sent by one of the team.

For more in depth advice, the service is chargeable. Please email as above requesting pre-application advice and an officer will contact you.

The fee for this service is £180 (including VAT). The time allowance for the advice is 90 minutes to either examine plans and/or conduct a site visit, plus giving feedback and answering questions.

Fees can be paid by:

  • BACS transfer, or
  • On receipt of an invoice, or
  • By cheque payable to ‘London Borough of Richmond upon Thames’

Contact privatehousing@merton.gov.uk for more details on how to pay the fee.

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 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.

How to apply

To apply for a licence complete our HMO licensing application form (pdf, 417 KB).

For an application to renew an HMO licence, the form is the same as for a first licence except that you do not have to complete all the sections (see the guidance notes on page 12 of the application form), provided that you submit the application form before the expiry date of the old licence. Applications submitted after the expiry date are not renewals, but are treated as a fresh application.

Return details are included on the form.

HMO register

We maintain a register of licensed HMOs in the borough.

Please notify us using our online form if you think a property should have an HMO licence but is not on this list.

If you require the licence holders' names and addresses, this can only be disclosed as part of the full HMO register. The HMO owner’s names and addresses are personal data and therefore are not disclosed, but the licence holders’ names and addresses are included as those are required to be included by the regulations.

The HMO register is produced from the database of licensed HMOs held by us. A report can be produced from the database and either posted to you as a paper copy or sent to you as a PDF version by email.

Fees

We are authorised by the Housing Act 2004 (section 232) to recover our costs of producing and sending a copy of the HMO Register, and this cost is £48. An invoice would be sent to you for this amount which would need to be paid before the copy of the register is sent.

If you require a copy of the register

The Council will only provide copies of the register in paper or PDF format, not Excel or CSV.

The Information Commissioner's Office has advised councils that a disclosure of the names and addresses of each licence holder is lawful and not a breach of the first data protection principle, as the duty of the Council under the Housing Act 2004 is to provide a copy of the register.

However, the ICO has also advised that the form in which the register is provided may be considered unfair and breach the DPA. The requirement under the Housing Act is to provide a copy of the register on request, there is no obligation to make it available electronically in Excel or SCV format as this might be unfair and excessive given the potential for ease of access by a large number of people.

If you decide that you require a copy of the HMO register, please email privatehousing@merton.gov.uk providing your:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address

We need these details so that an invoice can be raised.

Viewing the register

Alternatively, you can visit the Civic Centre between 9am and 5pm on a weekday to look at the register. There is no charge for this, but you would not be able to copy it.

You must make an appointment by emailing privatehousing@merton.gov.uk as the register is held securely, and will not be available if you come without an appointment.

Contact

Email: privatehousing@merton.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 8487 5123

Updated: 29 November 2019