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Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

Guidance, information and documents to apply for a HMO licence.

Published on: 30 December 2020

Last updated: 24 September 2021

Additional licensing for HMOs came into effect on 30 August 2021. A broader range of properties now require a licence. 

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

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

We introduced an additional licensing scheme on 30 August 2021, requiring a broader range of HMOs to obtain a licence.

Obtain a copy of the Additional Licensing Designation

The HMO additional licensing designation will cease to have effect on 30 August 2026. The date of 31 August 2026 stated in the public notice of the designation was in error.

Do I need a licence?

Certain HMOs include house and flat shares, bedsits and studio's with shared facilities and also some forms of hostel and staff accommodation may require a licence under Westminster's additional licencing scheme. 

Shared houses and flats

This category describes shared houses or flats where three or more people share facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom and the property is occupied by two or more households.

As part of the Additional Licensing Scheme, small HMOs occupied by 3 or more people from 2 or more households will require licensing. This includes HMOs in purpose-built blocks that aren’t currently licensed under the mandatory scheme. The scheme comes into effect on 30 August 2021.

Do you need a HMO licence ? Do you need a HMO licence ?
HMO Licence Checker PDF, 124.79 KB, 2 pages

Licence holder

The most appropriate person to apply for a licence will be the 'person having control' of the property. This is normally the person who receives the rent.


Letting out or managing a licensable HMO without a licence and failure to comply with the requirements of a licence is an offence. This can result in an unlimited fine upon conviction or a civil penalty up to £30,000.

Contact us

If you have a question for the property licensing team please email: [email protected]