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Houses in multiple occupation licence (HMO)


Certain Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) require a licence. Applications can be completed online using the HMO Licence Application link, which must be completed in full accompanied with the correct fee.

When an application for a licence is submitted to us online, the application will be checked to ensure that it is correctly (duly) made and that it has all of the necessary documents to support it. Once it is determined that the application is duly made, the application will be accepted by the council and the applicant will receive an email notification to confirm this.

If the online application is not duly made, the applicant will be notified by email with details of the reason it is not duly made and of how the deficiencies can be rectified. Where applications are missing any key information or documents, the applicant will be given one opportunity to resolve this. If they do not, depending on how incomplete the application is, the Council may return the application to the applicant or process the application and refuse to grant the licence.

In the event that these documents are not provided within the given timescale the application will not be duly made and the council must then consider one of the following 2 options for determination of the application:

  1. Return the application to the applicant advising it is NOT duly made, the application will be closed and the applicant will need to re-apply (the fee will not be returned but a new application fee will be relevant).
  2. Process the application (even though not duly made) and then give notice of the councils refusal to grant a licence and state the reasons why together with your rights of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal.

Any section not completed or failure to upload required documents will result in the determination of the licence being delayed, and could lead to the refusal to issue a licence.

The law regarding the mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation has changed.

Qualifying criteria

Qualifying criteria for a house in multiple occupation licence
Type of licence Applicable in Peterborough Criteria
Mandatory (HMO) Yes Five or more people from two or more households
Additional No Not applicable
Selective Yes Any privately rented properties in the relevant areas that do not meet mandatory HMO criteria

The basic criteria for a house (or part of it) to be considered to be a house in multiple occupation is that:

  • it consists of one or more living units that are not self contained flats
  • the people living in it do not form a single household
  • it is their only or main residence
  • rent or similar is paid by at least one occupier
  • two or more of the households share at least one of the basic amenities.

For the purposes of a Mandatory Licence, the following criteria apply:

  • there must be at least five people occupying the building
  • the occupants must form at least two households.

What buildings are covered

Regulation 4(c) of the Prescribed Description Order 2018 describes the categories of HMO that are subject to mandatory licensing. They are:

  • a) HMOs that meet the standard test under section 254(2) of the Act;
  • b) HMOs that meet the self-contained flat test under section 254(3) of the Act but are not purpose built flats situated in a block comprising 3 or more self-contained flats; and
  • c) HMOs that meet the converted building test under section 254(4) of the Act.

More detail on these categories can be found in the HMOs and residential property licensing reforms guidance.

Licence fees

The fee is broken down into two parts. Part A covers the costs associated with processing the licence application. Part B covers the cost of compliance actions relating to the scheme. Both parts are to be paid when the application is submitted. If a licence is rejected or otherwise not issued, only the Part B fee will be refunded.

  • Part A fee = £367
  • Part B fee = £733
  • Total fee = £1,100

Late fees

The fee for a late application on an unlicensed property is broken down into three parts, including the late application fee. Part A covers the costs associated with processing the licence application. Part B covers the cost of compliance actions relating to the scheme. The late application fee covers the costs associated with investigating unlicensed properties. All parts are to be paid when the application is submitted. If a licence is rejected or otherwise not issued, only the Part B fee will be refunded.

  • Part A fee = £367
  • Part B fee = £733
  • Late application fee = £200
  • Total fee = £1,300

What you will need

  • Mortgage details including name of provider, company address and company email address
  • Copy of current gas safety certificate (if the property has mains gas)
  • Copy of a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) for the fixed electrical installations
  • Copy of managing contract (if a managing agent is employed)
  • Signed copy of Fit & Proper statement from licence holder/property manager (see Supporting Documents)
  • Proposed licence holder’s proof of address (e.g. utility bill)
  • Manager’s proof of address (if property manager is being used)
  • Smoke detection and fire precaution details including location of all smoke detectors and type (e.g. battery or mains), location of all heat detectors and location of carbon monoxide detectors
  • Passport or driving license of the proposed licence holder and/or property manager (if different from the proposed licence holder)
  • Copy of the current Fire Risk Assessment (FRA)*
  • Copy of the current test certificate for the fire alarm system
  • Copy of the current test certificate for the emergency lighting system
  • A HMO Floor Plan of the property (see Supporting Documents)
  • Most recent portable appliance test (PAT) certificate/logbook/record

Please note: Acceptable forms of photo ID are Passport or drivers licence. If the property manager is a company then the photo ID must be of the nominated responsible person (e.g. a director).

*Please note: Fire Risk Assessments (FRA) must be carried out by a competent person. Further information on Finding A Competent Fire Risk Assessor can be found online. Once completed, a copy of the FRA must be forwarded to the council as part of your HMO licence application.

For further information on Fire Risk Assessments and Competent Assessors, please refer to the following documents:

Who needs to apply

Owners of HMOs must apply for a licence when it is a HMO occupied by five or more unrelated people in two or more households, but which are not buildings converted solely into self-contained flats.

Anyone can apply for a licence, but they must nominate a person or a company to be the licence holder. This would often be the owner, but could also be a managing agent or anyone else, provided that the licence holder has sufficient financial control over the property.

Apply for an HMO licence

  • The application form will take approximately 45 minutes to complete in full.
  • After having clicked 'Apply now' and before you start the online application, we recommend that you click on 'Log in to save' (as prompted at the top of the page next to the council logo) so you can return to your form later if necessary. This will also prevent you potentially losing any details you have entered after a period of inactivity.
  • As the upload limit for attachments (e.g. Gas Certificate) is 20MB, you may have to reduce the resolution on photo images taken on new phones.
  • You will only be offered the Fit and Proper Persons questions within the online form if you are the proposed licence holder. If you are applying on behalf of the proposed licence holder or the property manager, you must get them to complete the Fit and Proper Persons Form. separately and upload it with the application.
  • If you are returning to an application you have previously saved, please log in to continue.

Please note: Any delays in submitting a full application could result in the HMO being considered to be operating without a licence and could leave the persons in control vulnerable to enforcement action. Payment of the fee in respect of applications is part of the application and an application is not considered to have been made until the fee is paid. There is no provision to pay the fee by instalments.

Failure to apply for a licence

Landlords and agents who fail to apply for a licence face the risk of further enforcement action which could include a financial penalty of up to £30,000 or a prosecution with an unlimited fine. In addition to this, a record of non-compliance with Housing Law may affect your ability to hold a licence.

Where successful prosecutions or multiple financial penalties are issued, a banning order may be obtained against the guilty person; this would mean they are unable to hold a licence and may result in their properties being taken over by the Council.

Frequently asked questions

Q: I rent a house with five occupants and already hold a selective license, do I need to apply for a mandatory too?

A: No, your license will be passported to the mandatory HMO scheme following an inspection. We will contact you in due course.

Q: I'm buying a five-person HMO in the selective licensing area, which licence do I need to apply for?

A: You will need to apply for a Mandatory HMO.

Q: Do I need a licence if my property is occupied by four or less people?

A: No. A licence is only required for houses occupied by five or more people, however the property is still a HMO and you must comply with fire safety, pace standards and amenity standards and management regulations.

Q: What happens when HMO is sold within the five years from fee being paid?

A: If a property is sold then the licence must be revoked. There is no refund given. If the new purchaser continues to use the property as a HMO then they must apply for a brand new licence. If the property is sold and becomes a family home then no further action is required. If a new landlord takes it on then the new landlord will have to apply for his/her own licence which will run for another five years.

Q: What firefighting equipment does Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service advised I have in my Mandatory HMO?

A: Portable firefighting equipment can be removed from shared areas within the HMO, where there is a risk of, or history of, the equipment being discharged through malice or horseplay. The removal of the firefighting equipment must be on the prevision of a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment, reflecting the absence of such equipment. Tenants must be made aware of the absence of firefighting equipment and all information regarding the Emergency Action plan must reflect the absence of firefighting equipment.

Where there is a higher risk area that is shared, such as a kitchen, fire blanket equipment is recommended as good practise.

Supporting documents