Licensing for houses in multiple occupation

What is mandatory licencing, what are the penalties for failing to have a licence, how to apply and the cost, what you need and how to get a temporary exemption notice.

What is mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation?

Since April 2006, landlords who let certain types of houses in multiple occupation (HMO) have been required to have a licence. Licensing was introduced to improve management and standards in houses in multiple occupation because these kinds of houses pose greater fire risks and there can also be problems as a result of people having to share facilities.

Under the national mandatory licensing scheme the definition of an HMO which must be licensed is one that has 5 or more people, forming 2 or more households, who are sharing facilities such as toilets, bathrooms and kitchens regardless of the number of storeys.

If you are unsure about whether you may own an HMO or whether it requires a licence please contact the private sector housing team:

For further advice you can:

Request a service from private sector housing


What are the penalties for failing to have a licence?

A landlord operating a licensable property without a licence risks prosecution and could face an unlimited fine.

It also gives tenants and the council, in the case of housing benefit payments, the ability to reclaim all rent paid over the preceding 12 months.

How do I apply for a licence for a house in multiple occupation?

Anyone who owns or manages a house in multiple (HMO) that requires a licence should apply to the council. There will be a fee to pay for the licence.

Applications can be made either by:

Apply for a house in multiple occupation (HMO licence)

or by completing the following appropriate application form and returning it to the address found on the form.

Mandatory HMO Licensing Application Form (pdf 758kb)

HMO Licensing Fees (pdf 151kb)

House in Multiple Occupation Licensing Policy (pdf 566kb)

The House in Multiple Occupation Licensing Policy should be read alongside the:

Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 (external website)

Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018 (external website)

Housing Act 2004 (external website)

For further advice please make an enquiry online.

Alternatively, you can contact the council:


What do I need to make a licence application?

When you apply for a licence you will need to provide the following documents and guarantees:

  • produce a valid gas safety certificate annually, where appropriate
  • keep all electrical appliances and furniture in a safe condition
  • prove that all smoke alarms are correctly positioned and in working order
  • provide all occupiers with a written statement of the terms on which they occupy the property, often known as a 'tenancy agreement'
  • a Basic Disclosure certificate which gives details of an individual's criminal convictions, or state that they have none. Further information on how to obtain a 'Disclosure' certificate can be found on the GOV.UK website:
    GOV.UK - Request a basic DBS check (external website)

The licence cannot relate to more than one property or be transferred to another person. It will last for a maximum of 5 years and will specify the number of people who may live in the HMO.

How do I apply for a variation to a licence for a house in multiple occupation?

You can use the following form to apply for a variation to an existing licence, including transferring a licence or changing conditions.

Apply for a variation to an HMO licence

Applications for a variation of a licence are made under section 69 of the Housing Act 2004.

Certain conditions are required by law, but other changes can be made to the licence, such as changing the licence holder or a number of occupants.

What happens next? Read more:

What happens next? Read more:

Once received, your application will be considered, along with any representations made. If necessary, we may ask for further information, or visit the property and discuss alternative options with you. Applications are normally processed within 6-8 weeks.

Once a decision has been made you will receive a notice from the council informing you of the changes.

How much does a licence cost?

The council charges a fee to cover the administrative costs for issuing a licence.

The following document provides a full list of the HMO licensing fees:

HMO Licensing Fees (pdf 151kb)

What amenities and space standards do I have to provide in my licensable house in multiple occupation?

Landlords must ensure the house in multiple (HMO) has rooms of a reasonable size and has enough bathrooms, cooking facilities and toilets for the number of people living there. The amount of amenities needed will depend on the type of property and the number of occupants living at the property.

The following PDF document provides guidance on the amenity and space requirements for houses in multiple occupation:

HMO Guidance and Amenity Standards (pdf 751kb)

The following PDF document sets out the conditions applicable for licensable HMO properties:

Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing Conditions (pdf 292kb)

Additionally, the document below sets out the new mandatory HMO Licence conditions that landlords and officers have regard to since 1 October 2018, it also provides details for the refuse scheme which licenced HMOs need to comply with:

HMO Mandatory Conditions Plus Refuse Scheme Advice (pdf 264kb)

What is a temporary exemption notice?

Temporary Exemption Notices (TEN) are notices which temporarily exempt a licensable property from requiring a licence. These can be issued by the council if they are satisfied that the person required to be the licence holder proposes to take steps necessary to ensure the property no longer requires a licence, for example, if tenants are leaving or the property is being sold.

How do I get a temporary exemption notice for my house in multiple occupation?

Where the person having control of or managing a licensable HMO intends to take certain steps to remove the property from licensing, they must notify the council and apply for a temporary exemption from HMO licensing.

A Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN) can usually only be issued for 3 months. In exceptional circumstances, a second TEN may be issued for a further 3 months, and you can apply online:

Apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice

What are the changes to mandatory HMO licensing from 1 October 2018?

If you are a landlord or managing agent and let out a property as a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), that property must have a valid licence.

New regulations came into force on 1 October 2018 regarding houses in multiple occupation which change the definition of a licensable HMO and the mandatory conditions that are included in the licence issued by the council.

The changes extend mandatory licensing to include any HMO which is occupied by 5 or more people, in 2 or more households, where occupiers lack or share bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities regardless of the number of storeys.

New rules will also come into force setting minimum size requirements for bedrooms in HMOs to prevent overcrowding. Landlords will also be required to adhere to council refuse schemes, to reduce problems with rubbish.

If you think any of your properties fall within the new definition then you will need to apply for a licence or you will be committing a criminal offence. Landlords and managing agents are being encouraged to apply as soon as possible so that a licence can be issued on the introduction of the new legislation.

If you currently have an HMO licensed under the council’s additional licensing scheme which operates in Goole and it falls under the new definition of a mandatory licensable HMO, your current licence will remain valid, and no action is needed until it comes up for renewal.

Further information about the changes can be found on the website:

The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 (external website)

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