Houses in multiple occupation HMO

Houses in Multiple Occupation

Covid-19 advice 

The following letter has being sent to HMO licence holders and managing agents to help you maintain a safe environment in your properties during this coronavirus pandemic.

Posters are available on the Public Health England website.

Consultation on Proposals for an Additional HMO Licensing scheme

We are seeking views on our proposal to introduce a borough wide additional HMO licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). We want to hear your views, so please go to our consultation webpage to read about our proposals, and complete our online survey. The consultation ends on 20 June 2021.

What is an HMO?

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), is a building, or part of a building, such as a flat, that:

  • is occupied by more than one household, and where more than one household shares – or lacks – an amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities
  • is occupied by more than one household and which is a converted building – but not entirely self-contained flats (whether or not some amenities are shared or lacking)
  • is converted self-contained flats, but does not meet as a minimum standard the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulation, and at least one third of the flats are privately rented

For more information visit the HMO standards page.

If you are unsure whether your property is an HMO, see is my property an HMO? for more details.


Changes to the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation 1 October 2018

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

For mandatory licensing to apply, the HMO (or Flat in Multiple Occupation) must be occupied by five or more persons, from two or more separate households.

This change will mean that flats, maisonettes and 2 storey properties may require a licence if they are occupied by 5 or more people forming two or more households sharing basic amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. Flats situated in purpose built blocks consisting of 3 or more flats will not require a licence.

The changes take effect on 1 October 2018. This provides time for landlords to prepare for the changes and obtain a licence. Landlords of HMOs that fall under the new definition will be committing a criminal offence if they fail to apply for a licence or a temporary exemption by 1 October 2018.

If you have any queries or need help please see our frequently asked questions or contact us by email at: environmentalhealth or telephone on: 020 7361 3002

For more information and how to apply, see the Applying for a licence page.


Apply for an HMO licence

The length of the application process will vary as each case is different. Upon receipt of a valid application we aim to determine your application for a licence within 16 weeks of receiving it.



The Council does not charge a flat fee for HMO licences. The fee is property specific and calculated upon receipt of a valid application. The fee is requested when all the habitable rooms in the property have been accounted for to the satisfaction of the Council.

The fees structure is split into three parts;



This relates to the set up costs of the scheme. Every licence fee carries a proportion of this cost. 


Processing and technical inspection  

This part of the fee relates to the costs incurred by the Council relating to processing the application and the inspection of the property. This also includes works associated with carrying out a fit and property check, determining the suitability of the proposed management structures and funding arrangements. 


Quality Check

Each licence is quality checked to ensure the fee has been calculated correctly and that the conditions on the licences are fair and appropriate .   


Fire safety and smoking

Fire is a serious risk to those living in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), and one of the leading causes of fires within HMOs is smoking.


Last updated: 27 October 2021