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Reforms to mandatory HMO licensing are underway

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Following Government consultation the requirement for HMO properties to be licensed has been changed.

The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation Order 2018 Statutory Instrument 2018 No.221 changes the description of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). From October 1:

  • all HMOs with five or more occupiers living in two or more households, sharing basic amenities, regardless of the number of storeys, will require a licence (this effectively means the storey requirement has been removed from the current definition)
  • this includes purpose built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both of the flats are occupied by five or more persons in two or more separate households. This will apply regardless of whether the block is above or below commercial premises
  • this will bring certain flats above shops on high streets within mandatory licensing as well as small blocks of flats which are not connected to commercial premises
  • it is the individual HMO that is required to be licensed and not the building within which the HMO is situated
  • this means that where a building has two flats and each is occupied by five or more persons living in two or more households, each flat will require a licence

What you need to do

Before October 1, 2018 you must identify any HMOs that you are responsible for, which fit the above definition and submit an application form for each one. The application form can be found on our register HMO licence page.

If you are unsure or think your property may be exempt from licensing please contact Private Sector Housing on 01509 634651 or email for further information.

Landlords of HMOs falling into the prescribed description who fail to apply before October 1, 2018 commit a criminal offence from that date.  

Further  details are contained on this government website.

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