September 18

What is a HMO Licence?


Its a question that’s often asked of me when I do my talks, workshops and mentoring – and the answer is fairly simple, although the implementation can be more difficult and time-consuming.

A HMO licence is a licence granted by the local authority (in the area where your HMO resides) for you to be able to let your property to a listed number of households and people.

It will generally dictate any requirements for fire safety, health, cooking and amenity improvements that are needed in order to comply with the licence.  You will generally get three months within which to install any requirements needed by the licence but a “reasonable time” must be allowed in order to complete these works.

The licence is issued under Section 64 of the Housing Act 2004 and specifically relates to Schedule 5 Paragraph 1 of the Act (if you have a few hours on hand to read the act, its absolutely mind-numbing).

Normally, a licence will be issued for 5 years or until it is revoked and at all times, the conditions under which the licence is granted have to be maintained (ie fire alarm system, cooking facilities etc).

The local authority may carry out an inspection to ensure that the licence conditions are complied with and to ensure that adequate maintainance in accordance with Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 is being carried out.

In future posts, I’ll talk further about the Licence application process, what a licence looks like and the typical kind of conditions you may expect to be imposed upon your property to meet Housing Act 2004 standards.


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  • Hi Matthew,

    under what circumstances is a licence issued? is a property considered a HMO when more than two unrelated people share? Would that need a licence?

  • Hi Terry, generally it is where a house has 5 or more occupants and is 3 or more storeys.

    So if you have two or more people sharing, it should be fine (unless your council has selective licencing in place which you should find out about from your local council)

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