Overview

These pages cover the licensing of mandatory houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in Croydon. 

It is an offence to operate a licensable mandatory HMO without a licence. Landlords of mandatory HMOs operating without a licence can be subject to a financial penalty of up to £30,000 or an unlimited fine in a magistrates court. 

Some of the properties that were licensed under the Croydon Private Rented Property Licensing (CPRPL) scheme, which came to an end on 30 September 2020, may now need to apply for a mandatory HMO licence.

Fees and payments

A standard flat fee of £250 applies for each habitable room, up to a maximum of £5,000. A fee can be for habitable rooms that are not currently being used as bedrooms, such as living rooms and dining rooms. A habitable room does not include kitchens, bathrooms or kitchen diners. 

On 18 January 2021, we agreed to introduce a new licensing fee structure and new licence conditions for mandatory HMOs. The total fee of £250 for each habitable room remains the same but from 1 February 2021 it will need to be paid in two stages - The Part A payment which accompanies the licence application and the Part B payment which is due to be paid at the point the licence is to be issued.

Please be ready to make the Part B payment on request from us and 14 days’ notice will be given for payment at the point the licence is ready to be issued. We ask for applicants to be proactive in making this payment so that the issue of the licence is not held up and the application is not subsequently cancelled. No refund of the Part A payment will be made in this circumstance.

You can download information on the new fee structure (PDF, 354KB). It covers the split fee and other relevant charges and the situations where a refund maybe considered.

Apply for a mandatory HMO licence

Please download and complete the application form (DOC, 282KB). Next, please email it as an attachment to your email, together with your supporting documents, to hmo@croydon.gov.uk.

Supporting documents may be attached as scanned documents or photographs but we ask that the application form remains an electronic Word document so that we can return it to you to be updated easily if any information is missing.

Call us to make a debit or credit card payment before your application is processed. Phone 020 8726 6000 ext. 61450.

If you need help with calculating the fees please contact us before you submit your application. If you have any difficulties or are unable to use email please contact us.

Currently (due to COVID), properties may not be inspected prior to issuing the licence. Licences issued could therefore be subject to amendments once an inspection has been carried out.

HMOs of 3 or 4 people do not require a mandatory HMO licence but may be subject to any Additional or Selective Licensing scheme should one be in place in the future. I

Fines

It is an offence to operate a licensable mandatory HMO without having obtained a licence. Mandatory HMOs operating without a licence are now subject to a financial penalty of up to £30,000 or an unlimited fine. You are therefore encouraged to apply for a mandatory HMO licence as soon as possible. 

Download the HMO Licence application form. You will need to save this to your computer before you complete the form.

Article 4 Direction - HMO licensing

On 28 January 2020, we introduced an Article 4 Direction requiring owners to seek planning permission for the change of use from a dwelling house to an HMO of any size. The definition of an HMO is a property with 3 or more people formed of 2 or more households who share basic amenities such as bathrooms and/or kitchens.

Please be aware, if a mandatory HMO licence is applied for before planning permission is sought and planning permission is subsequently refused, the licence fee will not be refunded. In this situation, we can, at our discretion, issue a licence for a reduced period of 1 year.

During this period the licence holder has time to get the necessary permissions in place. At the end of the year the need for a further application can then be reviewed. A fee applies for a 1 year licence.  Further information about the Article 4 Direction.

What is a house in multiple occupation?

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) can be a:

  • house divided into bedsits with a shared kitchen and/or bathroom
  • shared house where the tenants do not occupy it as a typical family would
  • house converted into self-contained flats

hotel or accommodation being used as a hostel to house a group of people with a common need, usually on a short term basis, for example. homeless people , unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers, ex-offenders and semi-independent living schemes

You are also advised that planning permission may be required for changes to the property or changes to the use of the property. Please contact the planning department to obtain advice on planning permission.

Criteria HMOs must meet for licensing

We will give you a licence if we are satisfied that the:

  • HMO is reasonably suitable for occupation by the number of people expected
  • proposed licence holder is a 'fit and proper person'
  • proposed manager, if there is one, is a 'fit and proper person'
  • proposed management arrangements are satisfactory
  • HMO manager is competent
  • financial structures for the management are suitable

Guidance notes on fire safety and other requirements

See the safety inspections guidance notes and other requirements (such as lighting space and number of bathrooms) of HMO properties.

HMOs must be licensed with us

HMOs occupied by 5 or more people require a licence so that we can control and monitor standards. We make sure that the building:

  • is safe
  • is in good repair
  • has enough smoke detectors
  • has appropriate fire exits
  • has enough sinks, cookers, baths and toilets for the tenants

Licence processing times

Applications are normally processed within 8 weeks providing you have included all of the relevant information we require. There is a checklist on the application form of what you need to provide. Incomplete applications will not be processed until we have all of the required documents. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application fully before a licence can be granted. Tacit consent does not apply. If you have not heard from us within eight weeks of submitting your application please contact us, details are at the bottom of the page.

Check whether a property is licensed with us

Details of all licensed and registered HMOs are held in the public register and can be viewed by appointment during normal office hours. An electronic version of the register is also available that can be sent out by email on request.

Housing standards and enforcement team

Address

Croydon Council, 6th Floor, Bernard Weatherill House, , 8 Mint Walk, Croydon CR0 1EA , United Kingdom