Additional licensing for HMOs

The rules around the licensing of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) changed on 5 June 2023.

From that date, a smaller HMO, which means a property with three or four occupants, needs a licence before you can rent it out.

Do I need a new additional licence for HMOs?

Under previous rules, a HMO only required a licence if it was rented to five or more people from different households, who shared facilities like a bathroom or kitchen

You still need a mandatory licence to rent out this type of HMO.

However, on 5 June 2023, the definition of a licensable HMO changed, and now smaller HMOs also require a licence.

A licensable (smaller) HMO means a property:

  • occupied by three or four people
  • made up of two or more households, and
  • where people share facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom

You will have to apply for an additional licence for any HMO that fits the new definition.

Enforcing the scheme

We may take you to court if your property does not have a licence.

The court could give you an unlimited fine or issue a rent repayment order.

A rent repayment order means you have to repay rent to any tenant living in an unlicensed property.

Applying for an additional licence

You can now apply for a new additional HMO licence. Each licence costs £755.

If you rent out more than one HMO, you will need a licence for each property.

Apply for an additional HMO licence.

Further information

No tacit consent is applicable to this type of application. If you have not heard from us within 28 days of submitting your application, email us.

If you have any problems with our application form, email the Property Licensing team:

Read more about HMOs.

Read more about our additional licensing scheme.

Additional licensing conditions

There are conditions you will be expected to meet when we give you an additional licence.

The conditions cover things such as:

  • health and safety
  • occupancy levels
  • refuse and recycling

Read our additional HMO licensing conditions.

Section 257 HMOs

You may need to apply for a section 257 additional licence if you operate a property that has been converted into self-contained flats and meets the following criteria:

  • the conversion of the property did not comply with the Building Regulations 1991
  • two thirds or more of the flats in the property are rented out

The section 257 licence is only for the building as a whole. Individual flats in the building may also require separate licences, depending on their circumstances.

For more information, download the section 257 HMOs property licensing guidance.

If you're unsure whether your property may be subject to section 257 licensing, email the Property Licensing team at

Page last updated: 23 February 2024

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