Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

Extension of mandatory HMO licensing

The 3 storey criteria for mandatory licensing of HMOs was removed in 2018 and all HMOs occupied by 5 or more people forming two or more households (where facilities are shared) require a mandatory HMO licence.

The situation is slightly different for purpose built flats (i.e. those that were originally built as flats – not converted into flats).

  • if a purpose built flat is occupied by 5 or more people, and it is in a block comprising of up to 2 flats, it will be licensable
  • if a purpose built flat is occupied by 5 or more people, and it is in a block comprising 3 or more flats, it will not be licensable.

Mandatory licensing applies to flats such as those above shops on traditional high street type locations but not large purpose built blocks of flats like tower blocks.

There is no period of grace to obtain a HMO licence

If you failed to submit a “duly made” (complete and valid) application for a newly licensable HMO prior to 1st October 2018, you are committing an offence which may be subject to financial penalties of up to £30,000 or unlimited fines.

It is your responsibility to submit all necessary documents and information at the time of your application.

Licences issued prior to the 1st October for previously unlicensable HMOs were made valid from 1st October 2018 so that applicants were not disadvantaged by making their applications in good time.

Currently licensed HMOs

HMOs which currently have a licence issued under the Additional Licensing Scheme do not have to be re-licensed under the mandatory scheme. Their current licences will remain valid (as long as there are no changes to the property, ownership or management arrangements) until they expire.