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 @rbkc.gov.uk or telephone on: 020 7361 3002
For more information and how to apply, see the Applying for a licence page.
- why are licences needed?
- HMOs exempt from licensing
- licensing criteria
- cost, duration and conditions of licence
- applying for a licence
- inspecting the property
- refusing licences
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.
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.
- Read fire safety advice for Houses in Multiple Occupation
- Read more about smoking and HMOs.