HMO guidance for landlords

HMO guidance for landlords, including applying for a licence

Management of HMOs

Under The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006, as the landlord of an HMO you must ensure that:

  • contact details are on display in the property, and are available to each household in the HMO
  • all means of escape from fire are maintained and kept free from obstruction, all fire precautions are maintained, and steps are taken to protect occupants from injury
  • water supply and drainage are maintained
  • electric and gas safety checks are carried out as required, and updated certificates are provided to the council
  • repairs are made to the property where required (eg communal areas, structure and exterior of the property, water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, heating, personal washing facilities, and any other repairs outlined in the tenancy agreement)
  • living accommodation is maintained in the property
  • waste storage facilities are provided

In deciding whether the proposed management arrangements for the property are otherwise satisfactory, under the Housing Act 2004, we also take into consideration:

  • whether any person proposed to be involved in the management of the house has a sufficient level of competence
  • whether any person proposed to be involved in the management of the house is a fit and proper person
  • whether any proposed management structures and funding arrangements are suitable

The application process

If your property requires a licence, you can apply here. Customers will need to log in or sign up to My Services to apply.

Apply for a HMO licence

You can also renew or make variations to an existing licence:

Renew a HMO licence

Change an existing HMO licence

Applications will not be processed until we have received all the relevant documentation and the associated fees. You’ll need to ensure you’ve got copies of the following:

  • Basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (for both the proposed Licence holder and the proposed manager – see this page of our website for further information)
  • Property plan with room dimensions
  • Fire safety risk assessment
  • Fire detection system test reports
  • Emergency lighting test reports
  • Competent electrician inspection report
  • Gas safety certificate (if applicable)
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Evidence of insurance

You must also prove you and any relevant person associated to you (eg spouse or business partner) is a ‘Fit and Proper’ person under Section 66 of the Housing Act 2004. The licence can be refused if you are not deemed fit and proper.


Renewals are accepted where if at the time the application is made, a licence of the kind applied for is already held by the applicant, and has effect in respect of the HMO or house.


There is a fee for the application process. This fee is split into two parts. The first part is payable when you apply and the second part is payable if your licence is granted. If you do not pay the second part of the licence fee your licence may be revoked.

Fit and proper person test

We must be satisfied the proposed licence holder and manager of the property is a fit and proper person before issuing an HMO licence. A licence may also be revoked where we are no longer satisfied the licence holder or manager is a fit and proper person.

Further information relating to this can be found on the Fit and Proper Person Guidance page of our website.

Duration of the licence

Each licence is valid for five years, and you will require a separate licence for each HMO you rent out. You will also need to keep your licence up-to-date and notify us of any changes with immediate effect.

Transfer of the licence

Licences are not transferable. A new licence application must be made by the new landlord or most appropriate person.

You should notify the council with immediate effect if you sell your HMO.

Licence conditions

Licence conditions imposed by us may include but are not restricted to:

  • gas and electrical safety
  • the provisions of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • the safety of appliances and furniture
  • amenity standards, minimum room sizing requirements and management practices
  • fire safety
  • waste disposal requirements
  • anti-social behaviour clauses
  • general provisions

Refusal of a licence

If your licence application is refused you will be notified. Licences are not granted automatically and we must process and assess your application before it can be granted.

In addition to other matters, we must be satisfied that:

  • the licence holder is a fit and proper person
  • proper management standards are in place
  • the HMO is suitable for the number of tenants it has been licenced for
  • it meets the minimum criteria for amenities and facilities

Under certain circumstances where these criteria are not met, you may be refused a licence.

Offences and penalties

Under the Housing Act 2004, a person commits an offence if he is a person having control of or managing a HMO which is required to be licensed but is not so licensed.

There are also other consequences of operating unlicensed HMOs which include rent repayment orders and restrictions on terminating tenancies.

It is also an offence to breach any condition of a licence, or allow a property to be occupied by more tenants than are permitted in the licence.

Loans available for landlords

Following an inspection, if your property has failings and you are unable to afford the repairs; there is a loan service available. If you require more information about this service, please contact us and we will provide you with the appropriate contact details.