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Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

Does your landlord need an HMO licence?

Your landlord must get a licence from the council if these 2 things apply:

  • you share with 4 or more other people

  • there are 2 or more separate households

In some areas, landlords of smaller HMOs must also get a licence. This is called additional licensing.

In some areas, all private landlords must get a licence. This is called selective licensing.

Ask your council's private renting team is your home needs an HMO licence.

How does HMO licensing work?

When your landlord applies for an HMO licence, the council checks if your home:

  • meets the right standards, for example the size or number of bedrooms

  • is properly managed

The council also checks if the landlord is a 'fit and proper' person.

If your landlord breaks the law, the council can:

  • refuse to give them a licence

  • take their licence away if they already have one

Speak to the council if you're concerned the landlord or agent is not fit to manage your home.

HMO licences usually last 5 years. In some areas, councils make landlords apply more often.

A HMO licence cannot be transferred to another person. If your landlord changes, they will have to apply.

HMOs that do not have to be licensed

An HMO does not have to be licensed if you rent from:

  • the council

  • a cooperative

  • the health service

  • a housing association

  • the police or fire authority

Last updated: 24 October 2022

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