Housing in multiple occupation


Apply for a housing in multiple occupation licence

Either the landlord (owner) or someone they nominate (such as a manager or agent) can hold the licence if they agree to it. To grant a licence, we must be satisfied that:

  • the proposed licence holder and any manager of the property are ‘fit and proper’ people
  • the proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • satisfactory management standards are in place.

The house of multiple occupation (HMO) needs to be, or can be made to be, reasonably suitable for the occupation by the number of tenants allowed under the licence and has the minimum of facilities required by law. This includes the number, type and quality of shared bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities.

Once a licence is granted it cannot be transferred to another property or to another person.

If the HMO is sold, the new owner or manager will need to apply for a new licence.

Fit and proper

The licence holder and any manager must declare that they are ‘fit and proper’ to hold the licence or manage the HMO. We will consider:

  • any previous convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs and fraud
  • whether the proposed licence holder has broken any laws relating to housing or landlord and tenant issues
  • whether the person has been found guilty of unlawful discrimination
  • whether the person has previously managed HMOs that have breached any approved code of practice


The licence will specify the maximum number of people permitted to occupy the property and if needed, the number of people allowed to occupy each room.

Mandatory conditions include:

  • provision of an annual gas safety certificate
  • all electrical appliances and furniture being kept in safe condition
  • smoke alarms in proper working order
  • carbon monoxide alarms in proper working order in any room containing an appliance that burns solid fuel
  • a tenancy agreement to each occupier

Discretionary conditions may include:

  • restrictions or prohibitions on the use or occupation of parts of the property
  • requirement to deal with any anti-social behaviour by people occupying or visiting
  • a requirement for additional facilities
  • requirements to ensure the fixed electrical installations, electrical appliances and fire detection systems are in working order and the relevant certificates are provided


Failure to licence an HMO or to permit a breach of the licence conditions will incur the following penalties:

  • a financial penalty up to £30,000
  • prosecution resulting in a criminal record and an unlimited fine
  • a Rent Repayment Order to recover up to 12 months of rent paid by housing benefits (either to the landlord or agent directly or by the tenant). This can applied for by tenants, former tenants or us via the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
  • an Interim Management Order where the landlord cannot issue a section 21 'Notice Requiring Possession' during the period the property is unlicensed


You can apply online for an HMO licence. Use the guidance notes below to support your application.

The applicant must be a named individual. The applicant and proposed licence holder must be a named individual and not a company. If a company applies to be licence holder, they must nominate an appropriate person to hold the licence within that company. We have a duty to award the licence to the person it thinks is the most appropriate person to be the licence holder.

In normal circumstances, we would expect the applicant to be the owner or landlord of the dwelling and apply to be the proposed licence holder. The proposed licence holder must have the power to:

  • collect rental income
  • let and terminate tenancies
  • access all parts of the dwelling
  • authorise repairs and maintenance to the property.

If this is the case, please complete all of section one, following the instructions given in the section. If the owner or landlord has nominated a manager or managing agent to be the proposed licence holder, they must have the power to undertake the above conditions (such as collecting rental income), in order for us to assume that they are the most appropriate person to hold the licence.

Please provide details of permanent residential and business address of both the applicant and proposed licence holder if they are different individuals. This will not be the address of the HMO to be licensed unless the proposed licence holder will permanently reside at that address.

Evidence that will be accepted as proof of address will be two of the following:

  • current driver’s licence
  • recent bank or building society statement (from the last three months)
  • recent utility bill (from the last three 3 months, that is not a mobile telephone bill)
  • recent tax correspondence

Both the applicant and the proposed licence holder, if they are different individuals, must also provide photographic ID (such as a passport or valid UK driving licence).

Clear copies of documents are accepted for both confirmation of address and confirmation of ID.

A person having control of the property in normal circumstances is the legal owner or freeholder of the property.

In circumstances where the owner or freeholder has leased the property to another person or company, the leaseholder will become the person having control of the property.

Housing in multiple application costs can be found in our fees and charges

In deciding whether an application should be granted, we must have regard to evidence which shows that the proposed licence holder and managers, and any other person associated or formerly associated with them on a personal, work or other basis, is a fit and proper person.

As supporting evidence you must provide a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate for all named individuals on the application form and these must be dated as issued no more than three months before the date of your application. DBS certificates are available by applying through GOV.UK.

An associated person or former associate to the proposed licence holder or manager refers to any person who may be linked to the license holder by direct association (e.g. previous business partner). If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions, it may be necessary for us to undertake a further assessment and you may be contacted by them directly.

In certain cases, other authorities, such as the Police, may also be consulted during the licensing process.

In accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, you are not required to provide details about previous convictions which are ‘spent’. A conviction becomes ‘spent’ after a certain length of time which changes depending on the sentence and your age at the time of the conviction. The periods are halved if the conviction took place when you were aged 17 or less. If a person is sentenced to more than two and a half years in prison, his/her conviction can never become ‘spent’. All unspent convictions must be declared. The following table indicates the period required for the conviction to become spent:


Period of good conduct needed for conviction to be spent

6 months to 2 and a half years imprisonment

10 years

Less than 6 months' imprisonment

7 years

Borstal Training

7 years

A fine or Community Services Order

5 years

Probation Order, Conditional Discharge, or Bind Over

1 year

An Absolute Discharge

6 months

If you have any doubts about whether you have to declare a previous conviction, you should contact your local Probation Office, the Citizens' Advice Bureau, or your solicitor. Any information given will be treated as confidential and used only in connection with your application.

We have a duty to maintain a public register of HMO’s and make sure that the contents of the register are available at the authority’s head office for inspection by members of the public at all reasonable times. The details of your application, as required to be made public under the Housing Act 2004, will be made available for inspection on our Licensing Public Register.

Example HMO floorplan
FDFire door
ELEmergency lighting
SDSmoke detector
HDHeat detector
ASAlarm sounder
CPCall point
FBFire blanket
W9Water extinguisher
AAFFoam extinguisher
WCWater closet
WHBWash hand basin
FAPFire alarm panel

You can log back in and return to a previously started form at a later stage.

Licence not required

Complete this form if the property does not require a licence, the property will not require a licence once the current licence expires or you are no longer responsible for the property.

Pay fee on grant of your licence

A grant fee is required once you receive a grant fee request notice from the licensing unit.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent does not apply if you don't hear from us. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within 90 days, please contact us:

Last updated 08 September 2023