House in Multiple Occupation

Houses in multiple occupancy

If you rent out a property as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) you may need a licence from the Council.

What is a House in Multiple Occupation?

A house in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a building which is lived in by more than one household who share basic facilities such as a kitchen, a bathroom or a toilet. People are treated as being part of the same household if they are related to each other (e.g. family members) or live together as a couple.

Bedsits and houses shared by friends or work colleagues are likely to be HMOs. There are some exemptions, for example houses occupied by two unrelated individuals, which are not treated as HMOs.

Standards in Houses in Multiple Occupation

The Council has powers to control living conditions in HMOs covering matters such as:

  • State of repair
  • Management standards
  • Overcrowding
  • Provision of facilities for bathing and cooking
  • Means of escape in case of a fire

It is the Council's policy to inspect all HMOs which are known to them and to take appropriate action to ensure that they meet the required standards. The Council has produced a booklet containing guidance which can be downloaded from the Related Media below.

Licence Applications

  • Applications must be made to the local housing authority
  • A fee is charged
  • You must be a fit and proper person to hold a licence
  • Once a licence has been granted it will normally be valid for five years

A summary of the regulations relating to a House in Multiple Occupation Licence is given in the Related Media below.

Application evaluation process

In deciding whether or not to grant a licence, the Council will need to be satisfied that:

  • The house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation
  • The applicant is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • The proposed manager is a fit and proper person
  • The management arrangements are satisfactory

Successful application

It is in the public interest that the local authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority you are not licensed to rent a House of Multiple Occupation. If you have not heard from the Council within a reasonable period after making your application, contact us at the address below.

Buckinghamshire Council
King George V House
King George V Road


You may appeal to a residential property tribunal regarding conditions attached to a licence or any decision to refuse, grant, vary or cancel a licence. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Consumer complaint

A relevant person can appeal to the residential property tribunal against a decision by the local authority to grant or refuse to grant a licence or against any decision to change or cancel a licence. An appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Complaints procedure

Comments, Compliments and Complaints

Trade Associations

British Property Federation

Apply online

The current basic licence fee is £800 for a five bedroomed property.  There are additions of £25 for each extra room and deductions for members of landlord associations.  The fee is payable in two instalments: £500 on submission of your application, then the remaining balance when your application has been processed.  A licence will normally last for five years.

The licence will not be issued until full payment has been received.
The licensing fee is not refundable if the property ceases to become a licensable HMO at any point after it has been issued.