Private sector housing

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

If you want to rent out your property as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) you will need a licence from the Council. An HMO is sometimes called a ‘house share’. It is a legal requirement for an HMO to be licensed. Failure to do so can result in civil penalty notices of up to £30,000 per offence, or a prosecution and possible prison sentence.

It is also an offence if you have a licence but do not comply with the conditions of that licence. Tenants can make a claim for a rent repayment order and claim back any rent paid during the period when a property that should have been licensed was not.

More information on HMOs including how to apply for, or renew, an HMO licence

If you are concerned that a property is operating without an HMO licence you can report it by contacting the Council or emailing

Minimum standards for an HMO

The Council can enforce standards in HMOs and take action if landlords do not co-operate. You can view all licensed HMO properties in the Borough on the HMO Licence Public Register.

The minimum standards provide guidance to tenants and landlords on what to expect in HMOs. They help ensure that HMOs meet a wide range of housing needs and provide good value for money. Many of these standards are expected in all HMOs whether they need a licence or not. If they are not met, the Council can serve a notice and use the Housing Health and Safety Rating system (HHSRS) to ensure that the HMO is brought up to standard.

You can find more information relating to standards in The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006 Schedule 3.