How Do I Get an HMO Licence

A Step-by-Step Guide

If you currently operate or are considering setting up a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), obtaining a HMO licence is a must. This guide will walk you through the process of securing a HMO licence to ensure you comply with local regulations and protect the well-being of your tenants.

Assuming you are already familiar with the concept of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), it’s important to note that a property becomes classified as an HMO when it is rented out by three or more people who aren’t from the same household (who are not related) but do share facilities like lounge, kitchen and / or bathrooms Properties rented to five or more people forming more than one household are considered large HMOs and require a mandatory licence. If you need more detailed information about what constitutes a HMO, please refer to our article: Define HMO.

Different Licensing Requirements

For landlords managing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), it’s crucial to understand the distinct types of property licenses that may be required. Here’s a clear explanation to help you navigate these requirements:

  • Mandatory Licensing: This is a compulsory license for HMOs that are occupied by five or more people forming two or more separate households. This license is necessary to ensure that larger HMOs comply with specific safety and management standards, which are crucial for tenant safety and welfare.
  • Additional Licensing: Unlike mandatory licensing, additional licensing is not automatically required across the UK. This type of license may be imposed by a local council in areas with a high concentration of HMOs. Its purpose is to address situations where smaller HMOs (typically those with three or more tenants from different households) might otherwise operate without sufficient oversight. This ensures that even smaller HMOs maintain appropriate safety and management standards.
  • Selective Licensing: It’s important to note that selective licensing is distinct from HMO licensing. While selective licensing is not specific to HMOs, it may affect HMO landlords if their properties fall within a designated area targeted by the local council. Selective licensing is generally introduced to improve the overall management and conditions of rental properties in areas with specific issues, such as high levels of anti-social behaviour or poor housing conditions. This type of licensing can apply to all residential rental properties within a designated area, such as 1 bedroom flats.

For landlords of any type of property, including Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), it’s crucial to stay informed about the specific licensing requirements mandated by your local council. To ensure you comply with all legal obligations and maintain the required standards, regularly checking your local council’s website for updates on licensing schemes is essential. Local authorities may introduce new licensing requirements or modify existing ones, and being unaware of these changes can lead to penalties or not being able to evict tenants. Making it a priority to stay updated will help you avoid any compliance issues and continue providing high-quality accommodations to your tenants.

Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining an HMO Licence

Step 1: Verify the Need for a Licence

First, it’s essential to contact your local council to confirm whether your property requires a HMO licence. The criteria for licensing can differ significantly from one council to another, as described above. Directly engaging with your local council will ensure you receive the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Step 2: Prepare Your Property

Begin the process of aligning your property with the necessary standards. It’s advisable to make the required modifications before your application, this is so you can submit all the required documents to the council such as fire alarm certificates, up to date floor plans etc. Consulting with your local fire brigade can provide valuable insights into fire safety, a critical aspect of HMO management. You will also need to ensure all room sizes meet local requirements, a detail you can explore further in these helpful articles:

Minimum Room Size for HMOs

HMO Requirements

Step 3: Submit Your Application

To apply for the HMO licence, visit your local council’s website to access and fill out the application form. This step involves more than just providing basic information about your property; you will need to gather and submit a range of specific documents to demonstrate compliance with safety regulations. The exact requirements can vary by council, but typically include:

Detailed Floor Plans: These should clearly show the layout of the property, including the location of all fire safety equipment such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR): This confirms that the electrical systems are safe and up to code.

Gas Safety Record (GSR): Required annually, this report verifies that all gas appliances and connections are safe to use.

Fire Alarm Certificate: This shows that the fire alarm system has been installed correctly and functions properly.

Emergency Lighting Certificate: Necessary if your property has emergency lighting to ensure pathways are illuminated in case of a power outage.

Fire Risk Assessment: A comprehensive review of the property to identify any fire hazards and how they are being managed.

Building Control Documents: Sometimes required to confirm that any recent building works meet local construction and safety standards.

Additionally, you’ll need to pay a licensing fee, which varies depending on the size and location of your property. It’s important to provide all requested documentation accurately to avoid delays in processing your application. For more detailed guidance on completing your application, check directly with your local council or their online resources.

Step 4: Prepare for Inspection

After your application submission, the council will schedule an inspection to verify that all provided information is accurate and that the property complies with safety standards. More information on what to expect during an inspection is available here.

Step 5: Address Conditions of Licence

Following the inspection, the council may issue a “Conditions of Licence,” specifying additional improvements or corrections needed at the property. These conditions are often documented officially and typically allow a six-month period for completion. Compliance may require submitting photographic evidence or undergoing a follow-up inspection to demonstrate that the work has been completed to the council’s standards.

Step 6: Licence Issuance and Maintenance

Once you meet all requirements and pass the inspection, you will receive your HMO licence, valid for up to five years. Remember, this licence applies specifically to the property in question and must be renewed upon expiration.

Maintaining Standards

Maintaining your HMO licence requires ongoing compliance with set standards and local regulations. Regular internal checks and readiness for periodic council inspections are crucial to prevent any compliance issues. Failure to adhere to these standards can lead to fines or revocation of the licence, underlining the importance of continuous oversight and management of the property’s conditions.

Streamline Your HMO Licence Application with Our Assistance

Applying for an HMO licence involves numerous steps and detailed documentation, which can be overwhelming for many landlords who are stretched for time. If you’re looking for a more straightforward way to handle this process, consider using our specialised service. We offer comprehensive assistance with HMO licence applications, handling everything from gathering necessary documentation to submitting the application on your behalf.

Our service includes:

Document Preparation: We collect and prepare all required documents, including floor plans, safety certificates, and risk assessments.

Application Submission: We ensure that your application is complete and submit it through the proper channels at your local council.

Compliance Advice: Our experts provide guidance on meeting and maintaining compliance standards to avoid any future issues with your licence.

By entrusting us with your HMO licence application, you can save time and reduce the stress associated with navigating council requirements. We aim to make the process as seamless and efficient as possible, allowing you to focus more on managing your properties and less on bureaucratic processes.

For more information about how we can help you apply for your HMO licence, please visit our HMO Application page. Here, you can find detailed descriptions of our services and the benefits of choosing us as your licensing partner. Whether you are new to HMO property management or an experienced HMO landlord, our tailored services are designed to meet your specific needs.


Securing a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence is a critical step for landlords looking to manage their properties effectively and legally. This guide has walked you through each stage of the process, from understanding different licensing requirements to preparing for inspections and maintaining compliance. By following these steps, you ensure not only compliance with local regulations but also the safety and well-being of your tenants.

If the process seems daunting or time-consuming, remember that you don’t have to navigate it alone. Our specialised services are designed to assist HMO landlords in managing the complexities of licensing applications. By leveraging our expertise, you can streamline your application, ensure all documentation is correctly prepared, and focus more on the operational aspects of your rental business.

Visit our HMO Application page for more details on how we can help you secure your HMO licence efficiently. Whether you are new to property management or a seasoned landlord, we tailor our services to meet your specific needs, ensuring a smoother, more manageable licensing process.

Carl Evans

Written By Carl Evans

Share this Article