House in multiple occupation (HMO) - licence, fees and rules

Basic rules: letting a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If you wish to let or create an HMO, we highly recommend that you get in touch to tell us about your plans. This way, we can make sure you get things right from the start.

Planning permission for HMOs

Houses can be converted to HMOs without making a planning application, so long as it has six or fewer people living in it. If there are more than six people, a planning application will be required.

For further information, visit change of use (planningportal.co.uk)

Standards and regulations

All HMOs, whether or not a licence is required, must meet minimum standards. We routinely inspect HMOs in the borough to ensure they:

  • Are safe
  • Are managed properly
  • Have adequate sanitary and kitchen facilities
  • Are not overcrowded

The following apply or are relevant to all HMOs in the borough:

  • The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006
  • The National Fire Safety Guidance LACORS fire safety standards determines the required firefighting and detection equipment
  • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires all 'responsible' persons, that is, landlords and managers, to undertake a fire risk assessment of all licensed HMOs

In this borough, licensed HMOs are also given licence conditions which have to be followed.

Basic rules to follow

We have developed a set of basic rules and minimum room sizes, which must be followed by HMO landlords in this borough:

  • No more than two people must sleep in the same room, irrespective of age
  • Do not occupy the premises with more than five persons unless it is licensed with us
  • Rooms must not be shared, unless by couples who live together. The room must be large enough to allow this (see below)
  • Children of 11 years or older should not share bedrooms with parents
  • No bathroom, toilet, office, lobby, kitchen, cupboard, corridor or circulation space should be used for sleeping purposes
  • Inner bedrooms are not acceptable (this is a bedroom which can only be accessed by passing through another room, such as a lounge, kitchen or bedroom)
  • All rooms used as sleeping accommodation must have a ceiling height of at least 2.14 metres over a minimum of 75% of the room area. Any floor area where the ceiling height is less than 1.53 metres will be disregarded when calculating the room size
  • Irrespective of the floor area, we will consider the shape of the room and the useable living space within the room when determining whether or not it is suitable to be used as sleeping accommodation
  • Although basements and loft spaces may be used as sleeping accommodation, it is highly recommended that you contact the Private Sector Housing team to obtain advice as there are often additional hazards associated with loft spaces and basement rooms
  • No one should sleep in a room without any access to natural light, heating and ventilation (for example, basements without windows)
  • Kitchens must be a minimum of 1.6 metres wide with all passages or walkways within a kitchen being at least 900mm wide to allow occupants to move around safely
  • Kitchens must also be provided with an adequate number of suitable cupboards for the storage of food and items, as well as cooking and washing facilities relative to the number of occupiers in the premises
  • All premises must have adequate facilities for the washing and drying of each occupiers’ clothes 

Minimum size of bedrooms

If the bedroom is occupied by a single person:

  • 6.52 square metres is the minimum required bedroom size

If the bedroom is occupied by two people:

  • 10.23 square metres is the minimum required bedroom size

Minimum size of common rooms required

All kitchens require a minimum width of 1.8 metres to allow occupants to move around safely.

If the HMO is occupied by one to five people:

  • The kitchen must have a minimum size of 7 square metres and there must be an additional living room or dining room with a minimum size of 11 square metres, or there must be a kitchen diner with a minimum size of 16.5 square metres

If the HMO is occupied by six to 10 people:

  • The kitchen must have a minimum size of 10 square metres and there must be an additional living room or dining room with a minimum size of 16.5 square metres or there must be a kitchen diner with a minimum size of 19.5 square metres

For occupants of a bedsit (a room with kitchen facilities), no separate communal lounge, kitchen, or dining room is required.

Minimum size of bedsits

If the bedsit is occupied by one person:

  • 13 square metres is the minimum required room size

If the bedsit is occupied by two people:

  • 20.5 square metres is the minimum required room size

Last updated: 10/01/2024 14:51