HMO licensing rules

On 1 October 2018 the HMO licensing rules changed. If you rent out, or are intending to rent out an HMO to five or more people who share facilities, you need a licence regardless of the number of storeys (floors) in your property.  

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licence

If you rent out a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), you are likely to need a licence. Find out how to apply for this licence.

We operate a mandatory licensing scheme under the Housing Act 2004. This is a national scheme introduced on 1 April 2006. We do not have any additional or selective licensing schemes in the borough. 

The act requires landlords of HMO properties to apply for a mandatory HMO licence to let their private rented accommodation, in order to ensure HMOs within the borough are of a decent standard. (New rules apply as of 1 October 2018.)

Do I need an HMO Licence?

Landlords currently need an HMO Licence if the property contains all of the following: 

  • the property is occupied by five or more people
  • the property has some occupants sharing an amenity such as kitchen/bathroom

Occupiers includes all persons in the HMO, both adults and any children residing at the address.

  • Households can be a family, a couple (including same sex couples) or a single person but all unrelated adults that are not a couple, or part of a family, are treated as separate households. A group of more than two students sharing an address would be considered to be living in an HMO even if they had all signed a joint tenancy.

Please note, the tenancy agreement is not relevant in determining if the house is an HMO.

Changes to HMO licence rules

HMO licensing rules changed on 1 October 2018 and you may be fined if you do not have a licence for your HMO.

If you let, or are intending to let an HMO to five or more people who share facilities, you will require a licence regardless of the number of storeys (floors) in the property.  

Fines for failure to license

Failing to license your HMO property is a criminal offence and we may take prosecution proceedings or impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

On conviction, the Court may impose an unlimited fine.

HMO licence register

Under Section 232 of the Housing Act 2004 we are required to publish HMO licences. View the HMO licence register.

icon HMO licence register [35.93KB]

Apply online or by post

You can submit the HMO application and pay online and upload the relevant supporting documentation. You can also renew online. You must apply for a renewal before your licence expires.

Or complete our  icon HMO Licence application form [127.68KB]  and send to the Private Sector Housing team. The application must wherever possible be accompanied by:

  • A current gas safety certificate (if there is gas)

  • The maintenance record for any automatic fire detection system

  • Commissioning and/or Periodic Inspection certificate for the electrical installation

  • A plan of the floor layout showing the size of the rooms (similar to the type used by estate agents) - does not apply to renewal applications.

  • A licence fee of £630, which can be paid online via the GOV.UK website, or by calling Customer Services on 01483 505050.

    • Licence fee discounts are available: £50 for accredited landlords who are part of the Guildford Lettings Accreditation Scheme, or £25 for members of another recognised landlords' association.

    • There is an additional charge of £120 for late applications. This late fee applies where a licence was required but not applied for, or where insufficient information is provided in the application.

We will routinely inspect the property and will issue a draft licence, with any works required, before issuing the licence. The licence will be issued within 90 days of a complete application being received with all the relevant information - we will write to you if we cannot meet this target.

If you'd like to renew your licence you can use our icon House in Multiple Occupation Renewal Form. [72.5KB]

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. You can, however, continue to operate whilst your application is processed.

If you have not heard from the us within a reasonable period, please contact us by calling 01483 505050 or emailing: