It is an offence to operate a licensable HMO without having obtained a licence. HMOs operating without a licence are now subject to an unlimited fine.
Article 4 Direction - HMO licensing
On 28th January 2020, the Council 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.
In addition to this, there is still a requirement for HMOs of 5 or more people formed of 2 or more households to have a mandatory HMO licence.
HMOs of 3 or 4 people formed of 2 or more households are required to have a Selective Licence.
Please be aware, if a mandatory HMO licence or Selective Licence is applied for before planning permission is sought and planning permission is subsequently refused, the licence fee will not be refunded.
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 e.g. homeless persons, unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers, ex-offenders, semi-independent living schemes etc.
If you rent out a property as an HMO, you may have to acquire a licence from the local authority.
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.
What criteria must HMOs meet for licensing?
Anyone who owns or manages an HMO which is occupied by five or more people regardless of the number of storeys needs a mandatory licence.
Anyone who owns or manages an HMO which is occupied by three or four persons in a building of any height needs to apply and pay for a Croydon private rented property licence via My Account.
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, by following the link under the 'Related information' section at the bottom of this page.
Do HMOs have to be licensed with the council?
Yes, HMOs 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.
What is the cost of mandatory HMO licensing?
The fee calculator at the bottom of this page gives the costs depending on the number of rooms and/or self-contained units at the property so you can calculate the price of the HMO licence application.
A standard flat fee of £250 applies per room up to a maximum of £5000.
How do I get a mandatory HMO licence?
Complete and submit the application form, which can be found under the 'Apply for it' section above. You will need to call us to make a debit/credit card payment before your application is processed, please call the number in the contacts section further down this page. If you need help with calculating the fees please contact us before you submit your application. You will also need to post the supporting documents to us.
How long does it take to get a licence?
Applications are normally processed within eight 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.
Can I check to see whether a property is licensed with the council?
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.
- HMO Licence Application Guidance Notes [215.3KB]
- Housing health and safety rating system information [201.8KB]
- HMO licensing fees 2017-2018 [15.0KB]
- How to draw a floor plan [936.8KB]