Houses in multiple occupation

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

A Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), is defined under sections 254 & 257 of the Housing Act 2004. In Hounslow, with very few exceptions, every house in multiple occupation (HMO) must have a licence.

Nationally any HMO that is occupied by five or more persons who form two or more separate households, and who share basic amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet, will require a license.

This is known as Mandatory Licensing

Additional licensing

We consulted on proposals relating to Additional Licensing of HMOs across the borough from October to December 2019. The responses to the consultation were considered in a report to Cabinet on the 17 March 2020

Members considered the report and approved the operation of a borough wide additional HMO Licensing scheme which extends the national mandatory scheme to include;

  • All HMOs as defined by section 254 Housing Act 2004, which are occupied by 3 or more persons in 2 or more households sharing bathroom, toilet and or kitchen facilities, but to exclude purpose-built flats situated in a block comprising 3 or more self-contained flats; and
  • All HMOs, as defined in section 257 of the Housing Act 2004, which consist of converted flats, but only where all the units are privately rented, and where the building and all the flats in the building are either in the same ownership or considered by the housing authority to be effectively in the same control.

The scheme became operative on the 1 August 2020 for a period of five years.  Read the Designation and Public Notice which describes the effect of the new scheme.

The application process is the same for all types of HMO. 

If you own or manage an HMO, apply to us for a licence, visit our 'Apply for a HMO' button below .

Apply for a HMO

It's a criminal offence to operate an HMO without a licence, and if convicted you could be liable to an unlimited fine or issued with a civil penalty fine of up to £30,000. In addition, you may have to repay rent to your tenants and the council will reclaim Housing Benefit payments made to unlicensed HMOs.

If you're prosecuted it will probably be difficult for you to get a property licence in the future. If a property should be licensed but isn’t, the landlord cannot serve notice to quit on a tenant until the licence has been obtained.

The council also has powers to take control of a property. 

Please note: A HMO licence does not grant planning permission. The Council will consider the planning status of an HMO as part of the licence application process. Any unauthorised use is likely to be reflected in a decision to grant a licence by either limiting the number of persons allowed to occupy or by granting a reduced term, usually for a period of one year to enable you to regularise your planning status.

For further information, visit our planning web page 


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