House in multiple occupation (HMO) and licensing

Shared housing standards

Under housing law, houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) will normally include a property occupied by more than one household and more than two people. This may include bedsits, shared houses, non-self-contained flats and some self-contained flats.

Houses fully converted into self-contained flats will generally not be HMOs provided that they were converted in accordance with the appropriate building regulation standards. This will, as a minimum, be post 1991 Building Regulations. 

Certain buildings cannot be defined as HMOs, including buildings owned or managed by local councils, health authorities, housing associations and education establishments.

Licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

From 1 October 2018 the criteria for a licensable HMO will change to remove the three storey requirement. This means that any property that is let to five people or more, in two separate households, who share either bathroom or cooking facilities, will now require to be licenced by the Local Authority.

If you have a property that you believe may require a licence please contact the Environmental Health Housing Team for an application or clarification on whether your property falls within the new licensing criteria. 

We can offer advice on the HMO Licensing process, requirements and if necessary ways to remove your property from falling into this criteria.

Failure to licence is an offence under Section 72 of the Housing Act 2004 and carries an unlimited fine on conviction in a Magistrates Court or a Civil Penalty of up to £30,000 imposed by the council.

The Environmental Health, Housing Team is now accepting applications which are available by calling 01432 261761 or alternatively by emailing

 A HMO licence is only valid for one property at a time and is normally issued for a period of five years. If you have more than one property you will need to apply for an additional licence for each property.

View the public register of HMO licences

About this licence

Basic fee

Details Fee
Basic application fee for a 5 year HMO licence £1310.98


Discount details Percentage discount
Applicants that are (or have applied to be at the time of licence application) accredited under the Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme (MLAS) (or equivalent) 5% discount
Where the landlord is a member of one or more recognised landlord associations 5% discount
Renewal of HMO licence 15% discount

HMO licence fee quick reference guide

Number of units Total
Basic fee £1310.98
5% (association members or accreditation) £1245.43
10% (association members and accreditation) £1179.88
15% (re-licensing) £1114.33
20% (re-licensing + 1 additional discount) £1048.78
25% (re-licensing + 2 additional discounts) £983.23

How to pay

Send your form and payment to:

Environmental Health and Trading Standards
Economy and Environment Directorate
Herefordshire Council
Plough Lane
Hereford HR4 0LE

Please make cheques payable to 'Herefordshire Council'.

You can also pay using a debit or credit card by calling the EHTS business support team on 01432 261761 quoting your licence application reference number and HMO property address.

Insufficient fees and withdrawn applications

  • If an application form is submitted without the full fee applicable, we will not consider it as a completed application and we will not process it
  • If a licence application is withdrawn, we will not refund the fee in full. We will consider the processing and establishment costs in determining the level of refund
Application and guidance notes
Processing and timescales

It can take up to 62 days to process a licence for a house in multiple occupancy.

The application will be assessed to make sure that the eligibility criteria are met. 

Licences will be granted if:

  • The house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation
  • The applicant is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • The proposed manager has control of the house, and is a fit and proper person to be the manager
  • The management arrangements are satisfactory
Validity and renewals

A licence for a house in multiple occupancy lasts five years.

Renew a licence

Contact us in the first instance.
Contact details
  • Contact centre opening hours are Monday to Friday - 9am to 4.15pm
  • Telephone: 01432 261761
  • Email:
  • Online: Contact us form
  • Postal address: Environmental Health and Trading Standards, Herefordshire Council, Plough Lane, Hereford HR4 0LE