House in multiple occupation licence

Contents:

A house in multiple occupation (HMO), also known as a house share, is a house where:

  • there are 3 or more unrelated people living there, forming more than 1 household
  • some or all tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

All HMOs in Harlow need either a mandatory or additional licence.

Large HMOs need a mandatory licence. Small HMOs need an additional licence. 

Your property is a large HMO and needs a mandatory licence if:

  • it is rented to 5 people or more who form more than 1 household
  • some or all tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

Your property is a small HMO needs an additional licence if:

  • it is rented to either 3 or 4 people who form more than 1 household
  • some or all tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

A household can be a single person or members of the same family who live together. It includes people who are married or living together and people in same-sex relationships.

If you already have a licence for an HMO and you want to change it, or you plan to make changes to your property, you need to contact our HMO team.

Restrictions

Both you and your property have to meet conditions to be able to apply for an HMO licence:

  • the property must meet our minimum amenity standards for HMOs (pdf)
  • the property must have a suitable fire safety system – to determine this we use the LACORS fire safety guidance (pdf)
  • the sleeping area of any room - not including en suites - must be at least 4.64 m2 for a child, 6.51m2 for an adult, 9.28 m2 for two children, 10.22 m2 for two adults (an adult is anyone over 10 years old)
  • the manager of the house – you or an agent – must be considered to be ‘fit and proper’ (for example they have no criminal record or breach of landlord laws or code of practice)

If you want a licence for more than 7 occupants you may need planning permission. You should contact our Planning team planning.services@harlow.gov.uk 

Apply for a licence

You need a separate licence for each HMO you run.

To apply for an HMO licence you need to:

  • complete the HMO licence application form (pdf)
  • complete the fire risk assessment (pdf)
  • provide a gas safety certificate which is at least 12 months old (if there is a gas supply)
  • provide a domestic periodic inspection report for the electrical system which is at least 5 years old
  • provide a fire alarm test certificate which is at least 5 years old
  • provide an emergency lighting test certificate (if applicable)
  • provide a sketch plan of the HMO, including room sizes in metres
  • pay the correct fee

It is important you complete the application in full, as we charge a £29 fine for incomplete applications.

Fees

Large HMO (mandatory licence): £560 (reduced £445)

Small HMO (additional licence): £440 (reduced 338)

You will be eligible for a reduced fee if you can provide evidence of a valid membership of a recognised Landlord Accreditation scheme (Residential Landlords Association or the National Landlords Association).

Inspection

Once we receive your application, we will contact you to organise an inspection of your property.

It is important you make all areas of your property accessible for the inspection and that you do not miss the inspection, as we charge £113 for incomplete or missed inspections.

We may attach conditions to your licence when we grant it, which you will have to meet within a set time frame.

We will come back to inspect your property to check the conditions have been met. At our inspection, if we find you still haven’t met the conditions, we will arrange to re-inspect your property and you will have to pay for this re-inspection.

Large HMO re-inspection: £170 (reduced £160)

Small HMO re-inspection: £113 (reduced £109)

You will be eligible for a reduced fee if you can provide evidence of a valid membership of a recognised Landlord Accreditation scheme (Residential Landlords Association or the National Landlords Association).

Application decision

If we decide not to grant your licence, you can appeal to a residential property tribunal within 28 days of our decision.

If we attach conditions, change or cancel your licence, you can appeal to a residential property tribunal within 28 days of our decision.

If we grant your licence, it will be valid for one year.

Once we have issued your licence, we will add your details to either the mandatory or additional HMO public register.

Public registers

You can view the list of HMO licence holders on our HMO public registers page

Fines and other charges

It is an offence to operate an unlicensed HMO and you can be fined up to £20,000.

We can make a Management Order and take over the management of the property.

If an owner is prosecuted, tenants can claim back any rent they have paid to the landlord whilst the property was not licensed.

If you avoid applying for a licence until we investigate your property, we will fine you £224.

If you continue to avoid applying for a licence and we have to send a final reminder, we will fine you another £46.

We charge £29 if we have to send you a final reminder and £46 if you resume your application after the final reminder.

We charge £34 recovery fee for dishonoured cheques.