Houses in Multiple Occupation

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.


Since 6 April 2006 licensing of some Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) is compulsory (2004 Housing Act). The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea intends to license properties that fall under compulsory licensing only. The Council may introduce the other types of licensing later.

View a list of currently licensed HMO properties

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.

Application form for a HMO licence [PDF] (file size 261.97 KB)


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.