Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licensing

Many HMOs need a licence. Find out how to apply or renew a licence

House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 'household' (e.g a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen.

Who needs a licence

Anyone who owns or manages a HMO (including landlords and letting agents) in the Fenland district must have a licence from us if:

  • their property is occupied by 5 or more people
  • occupants form 2 or more households (a household are members of the same family living together)
  • occupants share 'basic amenities' (e.g kitchen, bathroom)

We will issue a licence when we have considered the relevant evidence and are satisfied that:

  • the HMO is reasonably suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence
  • the proposed licence holder is a "fit and proper person"
  • the licence holder is 18 years or older
  • the proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • the proposed manager (if there is one) is a "fit and proper person"
  • the proposed management arrangements are satisfactory
  • the person involved in the management of the HMO is competent

Properties rented to less than 5 occupiers that form two households and share facilities must comply with HMO regulations.

Planning permission

If you are changing the use of a property to become a HMO, you may need Planning and Building Regulations approval.

Existing HMOs with 7 or more persons need planning permission. 

Apply for a 5 year House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) Licence

The fee is £750. It is the same for new applications and renewals.

Before starting your application, please have the following documents available to upload:

  1. A valid Gas Safe certificate (e.g within the last 12 months) if gas appliances are used in the property
  2. A valid test certificate from a Periodic Electrical Testing report (e.g within the last 5 years)
  3. A valid Fire Alarm test certificate (e.g within the last 12 months)
  4. A tenancy agreement (for all separate tenants in the HMO)
  5. A floor plan of the property. Icon for pdf View an example floor plan [778.25KB]

As well as the above, you need to email the following documents to HMOlicensing@fenland.gov.uk:

  1. Proof of planning permission (if the property is occupied by 7 or more people)
  2. Evidence of an existing planning application (if an application has been made)
  3. Proof of your identity and address
  4. A completed Icon for word Fit and Proper Person Declaration Form [142KB]

You will be asked for your payment details at the end of the application. Please have your card details ready. 

To avoid losing any details, we suggest that you save your application as you go along. You can do this by creating an account. This allows you to save and continue your application at a later date. 

If you have any difficulties, email HMOlicensing@fenland.gov.uk. We will respond to you within 5 working days. 

After you've applied

You will receive an automated confirmation email after you've completed your application. We will then assess your application.

Icon for pdf View a flowchart of the HMO application process [197.27KB]

Failure to have a HMO licence

If a property is licensable but hasn't got a live application, we will use our powers using the Civil Penalty process. This is explained in our Housing Enforcement policy. 

If you think a property is operating as a HMO without an appropriate licence, please report it to us. 

Temporary Exemption Notices

An owner or person in control of a HMO can apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN). This is for a licensable property that is not licenced and where steps are being taken to exempt the property from requiring a licence under Part 2 or 3 of the Housing Act 2004. 

Icon for word Apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice [166KB]

New Mandatory HMO licence conditions

New regulations have introduced minimal room sizes and waste disposal provision requirements.

The minimum sleeping room sizes imposed as conditions of the licence are:

  • 6.51m2 for one person over 10 years of age
  • 10.22m2 for two persons over 10 years of age
  • 4.64m2 for one child under the age of 10 years

If the landlord doesn't meet the minimum room standards at the time they apply for the licence, we have a duty to give them a transitional time to comply with the requirements.

Landlords must ensure the dwelling has adequate waste disposal facilities. We expect landlords to comply with current Icon for pdf HMO waste service standards [328.21KB]

Fire Risk Assessment

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places a legal requirement on the 'Responsible Person' to ensure that a Fire Risk Assessment of the common parts of the HMO is carried out and displayed within the common parts of the dwelling. 

This requirement forms part of the HMO licence conditions. Landlords must comply with this specification to avoid a breach of licence conditions.

Read guidance on Fire Risk Assessments

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