Houses of Multiple Occupancy: Do you need a License?

Local authorities, including Brent Council in North West London, are currently campaigning to get more HMO properties licensed.

If you’re a private landlord and you have several tenants living in a property, it’s possible that you own a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO). If this is the case, you must apply for a HMO license through the local authority where your property is located.

The current national scheme for HMOs applies where there are five or more people in a property that is three storeys or higher. The tenants also have to make up two or more households, so a single family of five or more wouldn’t need licensing.

A local authority can also impose a policy requiring other sizes of HMOs to also be licensed. This is referred to as Additional HMO licensing. This licence is for all privately rented properties occupied by three or four people, making up two or more households.

Failure to obtain a license could result in an unlimited fine upon prosecution, a criminal record or a civil penalty of up to £30,000 per offence. Landlords may also get banned from running a rental property.