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Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

What is a HMO?

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) provide essential affordable housing for many tenants who need it.

The Housing Act 2004 provides the definition of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) as a property occupied by at least three people who are not from 1 household, for example a family, but share facilities such as the bathroom and kitchen. 

It can include a self-contained flat, a converted building or a converted block of flats. 

Do you need a licence?

Yes, a property is classed as a 'large HMO' if it is occupied by five or more persons and it is occupied by persons living in more than one single household, with at least one tenant paying rent.  A group of friends sharing a house will not be classed as a single ‘household’ for licensing purposes.

Landlords and agents who fail to apply for a licence may face fines of up to £20,000, a criminal record and potentially rent repayment orders.

How to apply for a HMO licence

For more information, email Alternatively follow the link below:

To renew a licence, please follow the link below:

Before granting a licence, we must be satisfied that:

  • the proposed licence holder and any manager of the property is a fit and proper person
  • property management standards are being applied at the property
  • the HMO is reasonably suitable, or can be made suitable, for occupation by the number of tenants allowed under the licence (for example, bathrooms, toilets, cooking facilities)

HMO licensing fees 2022

New Licence - £890

Renewal of Licence - £603

A licence is issued for a period of five years, and the property will be subject to inspection during this period.

Useful information

The Specialist Housing Group of the Essex Environmental Health Management Group has drawn up Codes of Practice in relation to Houses in Multiple Occupation: