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Houses in multiple occupation


A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property which is occupied by at least three people who are not from one household. HMOs include buildings where facilities are shared, but can also include buildings divided into self-contained flats. 

Licensing is mandatory for HMO's which are occupied by five or more people forming two or more households. Licences are not required for individual flats situated in purpose built blocks if there are three or more flats in the block or for buildings which have been fully converted to self-contained flats. Flats located inside converted buildings may require a licence if occupied by five or more people. 

The most appropriate person to apply for the licence is normally the landlord or managing agent if they are receiving all rents directly. 

​If the licence holder changes during the licence period, a full new application must be submitted for the licence to be re-issued to the new licence holder.

Information about how personal data is processed by the council

1. How to apply

Apply for a new HMO licence Apply online
Renew an existing HMO licence Renew online
Pay Part B of HMO licence fee* Pay online

*Payable within 14 days of the the council issuing you a notice of intention to issue a HMO licence

Before completing an application please read our guidance on completing a new HMO licence application and renewing a HMO licence

To complete any of the above forms using Chrome, you must have the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

2. Assistance with submitting your application

We're able to provide additional support in completing your application form and supporting documents.

The cost for this service is £89 per officer hour based on the amount of assistance provided.

If you need assistance, you can make an online enquiry about privately-rented housing.

3. Licence fees

The HMO licence fee is split into 2 parts (Part A and Part B)  Part A is payable when submitting the application online and covers the cost of processing the application. Part B becomes payable when the licence has been approved and prior to the licence being issued and covers the cost of enforcing the scheme. 

Fees are capped at 25 units of accommodation.



Part A

Part B

Price per unit of









The maximum amount payable is £8750 for a new licence and £7875 for a renewal of an existing licence.

Registered charities who are providing accommodation solely for vulnerable persons in the HMO in question, are exempt from licence fees. They must still apply for a HMO licence for the property.

Fees must be paid online while making your application.

In the unlikely event you are unable to make an online payment while making an application, you can pay online using the button below. When making the payment please quote the HMO case reference number. You will find this reference on correspondence relating to this licence. When prompted to select a 'WCC Area', please select “HMO Licence Fee Inc”.  

Please ensure that you retain your electronic payment receipt as you will be required to produce this receipt, if requested, as proof of payment. 

Pay online

5. Process of evaluating applications

Licences will be granted if:

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

6. Appealing a HMO licence

There is a consultation period before the licence is issued where interested persons can make representations about the application.

If your application is not successful, please contact our team first.

You may appeal to a residential property tribunal within 28 days of the decision being made.

7. HMO standards and further information

Westminster standards

This advice was updated in November 2018 to reflect changes to guidance and legislation. 

Further information

8. Additional Licensing Scheme consultation

We are seeking your views on our proposal to introduce a borough-wide Additional Licensing Scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to ensure our city has a safe, well-managed and professionally run private rented sector. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are shared homes, including houses and flat shares, student homes, bedsits and some buildings converted into flats.

Westminster has the largest private rented sector in England which is home to a diverse mix of people, families and communities. We want to ensure that all rented Westminster housing meets suitable standards of maintenance and is run professionally and to a high standard.

By introducing an Additional Licensing Scheme, we aim to improve conditions in the private rented sector, create sustainable tenancies with empowered tenants and reputable landlords.

This proposed scheme is part of the wider private rented sector strategy. The proposal to carry out a consultation to introduce an Additional Licensing Scheme was widely backed by respondents to the private rented sector strategy consultation in Autumn 2020.

Have your say

Read the full consultation document (PDF, 9.74MB)

Let us know your views about the proposal by completing our online survey.

Attend an event

All are welcome to attend one of our online events where you will have the opportunity to find out more about the proposed Additional Licensing Scheme and share your feedback.  

The consultation for the draft Additional Licensing Scheme closes on 11 February 2021.

Next steps 

Once we have consulted with our residents and stakeholders, the council will use the findings to inform our decision. We will publish our decision in Spring 2021. 

9. Public HMO register

The council is required to maintain a register of licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation and make this register available to the public. 

All licenses issued under Westminster's mandatory HMO licensing scheme can be downloaded in Excel format. 

Download the HMO register

The register is updated on a quarterly basis. For queries relating to the HMO register please contact us online

10. Private Rented Sector Strategy consultation

Our consultation period has now closed. Thank you to all those who responded to the council’s draft Private Rented Sector Strategy.

Find out what is next for the strategy.

Last updated: 20 November 2020