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Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

Mandatory licensing laws for HMOs

Since 1 October 2018, the Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) mandatory licensing scheme no longer applies only to properties with three storeys or more, with five or more tenants. 

Under the new regulations, the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018, it is mandatory for all multi-occupied properties to be licensed where there are:

  • five or more occupants from two or more separate households (families), and
  • where the building is either a converted building with living accommodations, or 
  • one which contains self-contained flats, but not a purpose-built block of flats.

The property no longer has to have three or more floors. Even if the property has one or two floors, but includes five or more occupants (unless they are one family), the landlord will need to apply to their local council for a mandatory HMO licence. 

There are heavy fines for anyone renting these types of premises without the correct licence.

You can view the council's public register of licensed HMOs.