What is a House in Multiple Occupation - HMO

A HMO is any property, house, bungalow, maisonette or flat, that is rented out to three or more people who form two or more households and share facilities like the kitchen or bathroom.

A 'household' could be a single person, or members of the same family living together. This includes people who are married or living together as married (including those in a same-sex relationship). It also includes close relatives and foster children living with foster parents

What are the standards I need to meet?

All HMOs are covered by the HMO Management Regulations and are expected to meet minimum standards with regard to fire protection, numbers of kitchens and bathrooms, room sizes and general repair and safety. Even if you do not require a licence these standards need to be met. For more information on this please look at our Icon for pdf Landlords guide to standards for HMOs [2.72MB].

Do I need a licence?

From the 1 October 2018, changes were made to the legislation which now means that an HMO with five or more people that form two or more households, regardless of how many storeys, requires a licence.

If your property meets all the points listed below, the person having control of the property must have a licence and is committing an offence if they do not have one, this could result in an unlimited fine.

  • it has five or more people who form two or more households
  • all or some of the occupants share a bathroom, toilet or kitchen facilities
  • this applies to any property, regardless of the number of storeys

Spelthorne only operates the mandatory scheme under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004, and does not operate any additional or selective licensing schemes.

How do I apply?

Your can Icon for pdf download an application form [546.59KB] (Icon for pdf Guidance notes for completing the HMO application form [672.39KB]) and once completed email to eh.residential@spelthorne.gov.uk with all the relevant documentation (listed below) attached. To make payment you can either send a cheque with the appropriate fee or we will arrange for someone to call you take payment.

You can also apply and pay online via the GOV.UK website

To make a valid application you will need to submit with the completed application form with the following :

  • a current gas safety certificate (if there is gas)
  • a current periodic electrical inspection report
  • a test certificate for the automatic fire detection system (if there is one)
  • a current test certificate for the emergency escape lighting (if there is one)
  • an energy performance certificate (EPC)
  • a written fire risk assessment carried out by a competent person
  • a floor plan, showing the room sizes, the fire protection measures and the kitchen, toilet and bathroom facilities (see application notes for an example)
  • a copy of tenancy agreement
  • the appropriate fee

Without all of the above the application is incomplete and will not be considered. Please make sure you have the correct documents before you make an application.

How much does it cost?

Number of occupants2019/20 charge
Up to 6 occupants (application fee £504) (maintenance fee £188)£692
7 to 9 occupants (application fee £555) (maintenance fee £301)£856
10 to 14 occupants (application fee £605) (maintenance fee £335)£940
More than 15 occupants (application fee £655) (maintenance fee £398)£1,053
Penalty for late or incomplete applications£131
Discount for members of an approved landlords association£33.50

The full fee can be paid at the time of application, or alternatively the first part of the fee (application), can be paid for the processing of the HMO application.

The remainder of the fee (maintenance) will be payable once the licence has been approved.

If the full fee is paid and the HMO licence is not granted, a refund will be given for the "maintenance" part of the fee.

What happens next and what happens when I get a licence?

After your completed application has been submitted we will acknowledge its receipt. We are then obliged to consult various bodies and organisations with an interest in the property eg the fire brigade, your mortgage or finance company (if you have one).

If we consider the property is suitable, and that the person holding the licence is 'fit and proper' and is competent to manage the property, we will issue a draft licence to you and those who have an interest in the property. If all parties find the draft acceptable the licence will be issued.

Within the draft and full licence will be conditions which have to meet. Please read these carefully as they will be a legal requirement and failure to meet these may result in prosecution and you losing the licence.

Are there any penalties?

It is an offence if the landlord or person in control of the property:

  • fails to apply for a licence on an HMO which must have one
  • allows a property to be occupied by more people than is specified in the licence
  • fails to comply with the conditions of the licence

Any of the above may result in a magistrate's court imposing unlimited fines or the Council revoking the licence and taking over its management.

The Council or the tenants may also apply to have any rent paid back under Rent Repayment Order for the previous twelve months, if it is an unlicensed HMO.

Please note that from the 6 April 2017 the Government has introduced a system of fixed penalty notices of up to £30,000 per offence for any of the above contraventions including HMO Management Regulation offences.

Tacit consent

The Council will process your application as soon as possible, and in the interim you can continue to operate your property as an HMO. This does not mean that tacit consent has been granted. To check the progress of your application please contact us on the details below.

Public Register

Spelthorne Borough Council has a legal duty to hold a Icon for excel public register [53.5KB] of all of the HMOs it has licensed, and the basic details of the licence will be put on that register.

Residential Team - areas cover noise, housing and public health
Residential Team - areas cover noise, housing and public health
01784 446251
Full details for Residential Team - areas cover noise, housing and public health