What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

An HMO is a property that is occupied by people who are not from one household (eg a family. This could include domestic staff, carers and fostered children).  

Examples of HMOs include:

  • a house let as individual bedsitting rooms
  • shared houses
  • hostels, some hotels, guesthouses where some of the occupiers have no other permanent place to live
  • lodgings
  • some houses converted into self-contained flats.

This includes properties occupied by:

  • students during term time
  • people seeking refuge from domestic violence
  • migrant or seasonal workers
  • asylum seekers or their dependents.

Properties that need an HMO licence

You need a licence if:

  • you rent your property to five or more people who form more than one household
  • tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.

You need a separate HMO licence for each rented property that meets these criteria. HMO licences normally last for five years.

Who can apply for an HMO licence

The landlord or managing agent of the HMO can apply.

Requirements for a licence

The person responsible for the management of an HMO has to meet the requirements of the HMO Management Regulations.

To get a licence, you must make sure:

  • the house is suitable for the number of occupants (eg size and facilities)
  • you have satisfactory arrangements for managing the property
  • the manager of the house - you or an agent - is considered to be 'fit and proper', eg no criminal record, or breach of landlord laws or code of practice.

Standards

All HMOs have to meet our HMO standards. These standards include:

  • Appropriate number of occupants for the property size and facilities
  • Minimum floor areas for bedrooms:
    • 6.51m2 for any bedroom occupied by a single adult
    • 10.22m2any bedroom occupied by a couple
  • means of escape in case of fire and other fire precautions
  • amenities such as kitchens, bathrooms, toilets and wash hand basins
  • absence of serious hazards under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) 
  • management standards
  • gas and electrical safety
  • furniture fire safety.

Fees

  • £575 per property for new applications
  • £505 per property for renewals (after five years).

There is a discount of £25 for members of an approved landlords association.

Apply for an HMO licence

You can make your application and payment here:

HMO licence application - online

Alternatively you can download an application form here and send it to us by post:

HMO licence application form (PDF)

You need to include the following with your application:

  • a current gas safety certificate (if there is a gas supply)
  • an electrical installation inspection certificate completed within the previous five years
  • a copy of the Installation and Commissioning Certificate or the periodic inspection certificate for any automatic fire detection system
  • a plan of the floor layout showing the size of the rooms (similar to the type issued by estate agents) - this does not apply to renewal applications
  • the licence fee (£575 for a new application or £505 for a licence renewal. There is a discount of £25 for members of an approved landlords association). Please make cheques payable to Waverley Borough Council and write the address of the property on the back of the cheque.

Late applications

There is an additional charge of £100 for late applications.  This late fee may apply where a licence was required but not applied for or where insufficient information is provided in the application.  We may also issue the licence for less than five years.

If you don't apply for a licence 

Under the Housing Act 2004, you are liable for an unlimited fine if your property requires licensing and you do not apply for a licence.  It may also affect you ability to get a licence in the future.

We can also:

  • make an interim management order on the building to take over the management of the HMO.
  • apply to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for a Rent Repayment Order requiring the responsible person to repay housing benefit paid to the residents.

The tenants can also apply for a Rent Repayment Order and the responsible person will not be allowed to serve a section 21 notice to evict the tenants if the HMO is unlicensed.

HMO Public Register - search for licences online

Search the Public Register Of Licences And Registrations online for a list of current HMO licences.

More information

Houses in multiple occupation (gov.uk)

Housing Act 2004 (legislation.gov.uk)

Contact Private Sector Housing

Please contact us if you have any queries:

Page owner: Paula Mackenzie. Last updated: 19/10/2018 10:59