Licensing scheme

Who needs a licence?

By law, you must have a licence for certain houses in multiple occupation (HMO). If you own or manage an HMO answer these questions to find out if you need a licence:

  1. Does the property have three or more storeys (including basements and attic rooms)?
  2. Is the property occupied by five or more people?
  3. Do these people live in two or more households?
  4. Do the tenants share any amenities such as the bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities?

If you have answered 'Yes' to all these questions you will need to apply for a house in multiple occupation licence as soon as possible; operating a licensable HMO without a licence could result in heavy penalties of up to £20,000. 

What about other shared houses?

Even if you don't need a licence; if you let a shared house (typically to students) you must comply with the Management Regulations which require you to manage the house in a very similar way to licensed HMO's.

In particular, you must have an electrical safety certificate that is less than five years old, make proper arrangements for refuse collection and keep the garden tidy. You can be fined if you fail to do so.

See also

For more information, please contact our Freedom of Information Team.

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