Houses in multiple occupation

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) make a valuable contribution to local housing as they offer a cheap and accessible form of housing for many people on low or moderate incomes. There are strict standards regarding licensed HMOs that landlords must follow, which are enforced by our environmental health services.

A HMO must have a licence if any of the following apply:

  • It meets the definition of an HMO
  • It is occupied by five or more people forming at least two households
  • Mandatory conditions for the licensing of HMOs will change from 1 October 2018 to remove rules around the number of storeys a property must have before licensing is applicable


To help landlords comply with the requirements, please see the advice on the following link:

Definition of a HMO and advice

Application process

  • Applications must be made to the local housing authority
  • You must be a fit and proper person to hold the licence
  • Licence fees will be payable for an application
  • Licence fees are non refundable

It is an offence to operate a licensable house in multiple occupation without a licence. The fine can be up to £20,000.

Apply for a house in multiple occupancy licence or tell us about a change

The application process requires a number of supporting documents which must be submitted before granting a licence including:

  • Fire safety risk assessment
  • Fire detection test report
  • Gas safety certificate
  • Energy efficiency certificate
  • Electrical safety testing
  • Portable appliance test report
  • Emergency lighting test report
  • A house plan which complies with the EEBC floor plan standards document available below

Floor plan standards guidance for HMOs document

Fees and Charges

Please find our fees here: Houses of multiple occupation fees.


Information on landlords operating some local residential properties.
If you are looking at renting a room in a house that is occupied by five or more people forming two or more separate households, ask for confirmation that the property is correctly licensed by the Council. If you are concerned about conditions in your property you should speak with your landlord in the first instance. If you feel you need us to intervene you should report the matter by email or telephone us on 01372 732000.

Further information
Residential Landlords Association



PDF icon Floor Plan Standards Guidance for HMO56.36 KB