HMO Licenses


Being a HMO Landlord and a landlord in general entails a great deal of compliance and upkeep of local and national licensing guidelines.

Right Room have a lot of experience in dealing with HMO license applications and can correctly advise you as to what level of license you require.

There are three different types of HMO license and they are as follows:

Mandatory licensing

HMOs that are occupied by five or more people who make up at least two households require a mandatory license. The only exception to this rule are individual flats containing 5 or more tenants located inside a purpose built flat of three or more self-contained flats (large flats inside large blocks, typically found in student housing).

Under mandatory licensing, properties are required to meet certain standards for the number of people living in the accommodation, relating to room sizes, the number of shared facilities per person as well as adhering to fire safety measures. Checks are also carried out to make sure landlords/property managers are “fit and proper” and do not have criminal convictions.

Additional licensing

Additional licensing of HMOs is at the discretion of the local council and varies on a case-by-case basis. It was put into place to help tenants of properties not covered by the mandatory licensing scheme (due to size), which may suffer from poor management. Boroughs such as Hammersmith and Fulham have extended their additional licensing to include all privately rented properties with three or more people making up two households but each council is different.

Unfortunately there are a number of exemptions to this type of license and no centralisation of policy across the country. To find out whether or not your HMO property requires this type of license, check your council’s website or contact them directly.

Selective license

Again this license is at the discretion of the borough and can affect all rental properties, regardless of size and number of occupants. For example a council who may be concerned about conditions for tenants can instigate compulsory licensing of all residential properties within a street, ward or whole borough. Typically, it’s brought in to try and smarten up areas or wards where there have been complaints about standards of accommodation.  

If you are unsure whether your property needs an HMO licence, contact your local council directly and obtain clarification preferably in writing. While HMOs that require a mandatory license are easily identifiable, the licensing process for smaller properties is considerably less transparent. Landlords should also remember that they will need an HMO for every relevant property – it’s the residence rather than the landlord that the property relates to.

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