Mandatory Licensing for HMO's

Mandatory Licensing applies to all properties that are 3 or more storeys with 5 or more occupants (from more than 1 households– see the definition of households below).

From 1 October 2018, the legislation regarding the mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) will change. These changes apply across all areas of the city.

The storey-height criteria will be removed. This effectively means 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 licence. See Section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 for the definitions of HMOs.

Please click here to see more information on legislation.

The government is also introducing the following measures regarding room sizes that will be included as mandatory conditions on Licences.   

  • a minimum floor area for any bedroom occupied by a single person under 10 years of age to be 4.64m²
  • a minimum floor area for any bedroom occupied by a single person of 6.51m²
  • a minimum floor area for any bedroom occupied by two persons of 10.22m²
  • to require landlords and agents to have appropriate arrangements in place for the storage and disposal of household waste, pending collection.

Please click here to see more about the regulations.


HMOs of 3 or more storeys occupied by 5 or more unrelated people in two or more households, but which are not buildings converted solely into self-contained flats must have a licence. 'Storeys' can include basements and loft conversions but not usually cellars or attics. 

Households: a household can be one person or several people. A group of people that are related, or living as a couple or family are 1 household*.

*includes couples, same sex couples and children including fostered and adopted and any other relatives.

NOTE: Where tenants claim to be related we expect landlords and/or managers to have taken out appropriate checks to be confident that they are related and the property is not being occupied as a HMO.


  • Three friends = 3 households
  • A couple and a 1 friend = 2 households
  • A couple living with their parent are 1 household
  • A couple, sharing with 3 strangers who are all friends but not related would be 4 households
  • 2 friends would be 2 household because they are not related
  • 2 families would be 2 households

Anyone can apply for a licence, but they must nominate a person or a company to be the licence holder. This would often be the owner, but could also be a managing agent or anyone else, provided that the licence holder has sufficient financial control over the property.

The City Council may decide to issue the Licence for any amount of time, up to a maximum of five years. 

Nottingham City Council will apply the fee which is applicable at the time the application is received for renewals, irrespective of whether any lower fee was applicable at the time a previous Licence expired. 

Payment can be made over the telephone by debit or credit card. Please note that the City Council does not accept cash. 

As of early 2018; only card payments will be taken via the online application system and will be required before the application is submitted to us.

The Council will consider whether:

  • the property is suitable for the number of persons requested
  • the proposed licence holder and manager are 'fit and proper persons'
  • the arrangements for managing the property are satisfactory as per the HMO Management Regulations

The Council will use the information you provide in the application and may also inspect the property to make its assessment.  It will then either refuse or grant a licence. Licenses will have certain standard conditions relating to the management of the property and may have other conditions requiring, for example, the installation of further amenities.

Before issuing the full licence (or refusal) we issue a draft licence (or refusal).  This gives you the opportunity to study the document and then make representations to us.  Once the full licence (or refusal) has been issued, you have 28 days to appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal (RPT).  Please visit the RPT pages for details of how to appeal.  

Landlords and agents who fail to apply for a licence face the risk of further enforcement action which could include a financial penalty of up to £30,000 or a prosecution with an unlimited fine. In addition to this, a record of non-compliance with Housing Law may affect your ability to hold a licence.

In cases where a successful prosecution or multiple financial penalties are issued may result in a Banning Order against the guilty person, this would mean they are unable to hold a licence and may result in their properties being taken over by the Council.

Please click here to visit the DASH - Decent and Safe Homes website for further information or the Legislation website Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 371. You can also contact the HMO Team within Environmental Health.

If you are the owner, manager or person in control of an HMO and are in any doubt whether it needs a Licence, please contact the HMO Team within Environmental Health on 0115 91 52000 (Options 5) or by e-mail at hmo@nottinghamcity.gov.uk  for clarification.

There are restrictions which apply to changing the use of dwellings.  Please visit the Planning pages of the web site for further information, particularly in relation to the Article 4 Direction which applies directly to the conversion of single family dwellings into HMOs.


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