Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation

A licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) includes any private property that is rented as a shared house, flat or bedsit occupied by 5 or more unrelated tenants, regardless of how many storeys are in the property.

If you are unsure if your property requires a licence, please contact us at env.health@north-herts.gov.uk.

What does it cost?

Please see our Fees and Charges page for further details.

Apply online

You need to apply for a new licence at least three months before you start operating your HMO.

Apply for a NEW house in multiple occupancy licence

To renew an existing licence, you need to apply at least three months before your current licence expires.

Apply for a RENEWAL house in multiple occupancy licence

You must provide the following documentation with any application:

  • Fire safety risk assessment
  • Fit and proper person assessment
  • Property plan including how each room is used and their sizes
  • Landlord gas safety certificate
  • Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
  • Electrical Safety Certificate

The processing of your application may be delayed if you don't provide these documents.

It is an offence not to licence an HMO that is required to be licenced or to breach the licence conditions, and may result in:

  • an unlimited fine
  • a civil penalty notice
  • a rent repayment order.

The maximum fine for managing an unlicensed HMO which requires licensing, or for exceeding the permitted number of occupiers, is £20,000. The maximum fine for breaking a licensing condition is £5,000.

What happens next?

We will consider your application and arrange to visit your premises. We aim to acknowledge your application within 3 working days.

If you have not heard from us within 56 calendar days, please contact us online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or using the contact details below.

Licences will be granted if:

  • the HMO is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation
  • the applicant is the proposed licence holder, is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • the proposed manager has control of the house, and is a fit and proper person to be the manager
  • the management arrangements are satisfactory.

What happens if something changes?

Once you have a licence for your HMO registered with the Council, you need to notify us about:

  • any changes to the ownership or management of the property
  • any significant changes to the design and layout of the property building
  • any significant changes to safety features systems within the building (such as the fire alarms).

Tell us about a change to your existing house in multiple occupancy licence

Public registers

You can view our public register of all licensed HMOs, temporary exemption notices and management orders.

Applicant/Licence Holder Redress

If your application is refused, or you disagree with conditions attached to the licence, or the licence is subsequently varied or revoked, you can appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) within 28 days of the decision being made.

If you are unhappy about the way that we have dealt with your application, please contact us.

Legislation Summary

The legislation relating to this licence is Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004.

Consumer Complaint

You can appeal against a licence being granted to a First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) within 28 days of the decision being made.

More information

Our page on Houses in Multiple Occupation has more information on the standards required in an HMO.

If you are unsure if your property requires a licence or have any other queries, please contact us at env.health@north-herts.gov.uk.