Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

You must have a licence if 3 or more unrelated people or families live in a property you own, as their main home. You can be fined up to £50,000 for letting an unlicensed HMO.

As the owner, you are responsible for obtaining the licence even if your property is leased or managed by someone else or there are no rent agreements or payments.

Resident landlords are not counted when calculating the number of occupants.

Types of property

  • Flats and bedsits that share cooking, bathroom or toilet facilities
  • Hostels
  • Halls of residence
  • Staff accommodation


To be a granted a licence you and your agent must:

  • Be a fit and proper person to operate a HMO.
  • Have the property in good order and suitable for the purpose (or can be made so as a condition of the licence)
  • Have the necessary planning permissions for HMO use
  • Ensure there are proper tenancy agreements


The following may be exempt from a licence:

  • Communally owned properties
  • Properties occupied by a religious order
  • Care commission registered accommodation

How to apply

You must also provide:

  • a floor plan of the premises (new applications or after alterations).
  • a copy of the Tenancy or Occupancy Agreement
  • gas and electrical safety certificates
  • a copy of the insurance of the property including details of public liability
  • the relevant application fee


Licence fees depend on the number of occupants. They are non-refundable.


Number of occupants

New licence

Licence renewal

3 to 5



6 to 10



11 or more



Once you've applied for a licence to operate a HMO you must display a notice on or near the property for 21 days before the licence is granted.

Page last updated: 27/01/2022
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