Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

About HMOs

The laws regarding HMO licences and room sizes changed in 2018.

A new online application system has been introduced regarding Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs). This will now be the only way landlords and letting agents can apply or renew an HMO licence.

Apply for an HMO licence

If you need help please email

What is an HMO?

A house in multiple occupation or HMO is a house which is occupied by people who do not form a single household. This includes:

  • A house let as individual bedsitting rooms
  • A group of rooms on each floor let to single occupants
  • Hostels, some hotels and guesthouses
  • Lodgings and shared houses
  • Houses converted into self-contained flats

All houses let in multiple occupation must be properly managed in accordance with The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/372 and comply with local authority conditions. Furthermore, from April 2006 it became mandatory to license larger, higher-risk houses in multiple occupation. Licensing is mandatory for all HMOs which have three or more storeys and are occupied by five or more persons forming two or more households.

Additional HMO licensing

2020 to 2025 scheme - the new scheme will come into effect from 1 February 2020 for a period of five years.

On 16th October 2019, the Cabinet considered and approved the designation of a new Additional HMO Licensing Scheme. See the agenda and decisions from the October Cabinet meeting.


We inspect HMOs and if conditions in the properties inspected are not up to standard the landlord or owner will be required to improve them.


Both landlords and their tenants have responsibilities relating to the tenancy and the maintenance of the property.

How to report an HMO

We are working hard to identify HMOs within Northampton to ensure they are adequately managed and also meet the fire safety and amenity standards required. Although we carry out extensive surveillance work there are inevitably some premises which go unidentified; therefore information and support from local residents and businesses is invaluable to supplement our work.

If you have any concerns or suspect that a property in the borough may be operating as a HMO please report it to Private Sector Housing on 0300 330 7002 or email

Please give us as much information about the address as possible; for example: property owner or agent details, the number of storeys/floors, the number of occupants or any other concerns you may have and we will investigate. All reports received will be treated confidentially.

More information

Private Sector Housing
West Northamptonshire Council
The Guildhall


Telephone: 01604 838585; email: