Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Apply for a HMO licence

A HMO license is required if all of the following apply:

  • It has five or more occupiers comprising two or more separate households, regardless of number of storeys
  • It is a house or self-contained flat but is not a purpose-built flat situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats
  • Some or all of the occupants share amenities such as bathrooms, toilets or cooking facilities
  • At least one of the occupants pays rent (or the accommodation is linked to their employment)
  • It is the occupiers' main residence

It is not an exempt property, namely:

  • Buildings or part of buildings, occupied by no more than two households each of which comprise a single person
  • Buildings occupied by a resident landlord with up to two tenants
  • Managed or owned by a public body (such as the police or the NHS) or a registered social landlord
  • Where the residential accommodation is ancillary to the principal use of the building (e.g. religious establishments)
  • Student Halls of Residence, where the educational establishment has signed up to an Approved Code of Practice
  • Buildings regulated otherwise than under the Act, such as care homes, bail hostels etc.
  • Building entirely occupied by freeholders or long leaseholders

From 1 October 2018, mandatory licensing is no longer limited to HMOs that are three or more storeys high, but includes buildings with one or two storeys.

Operating a licensable HMO without a licence is an offence which can be dealt with by a financial penalty or a conviction in court. 

Costs

The current fee structure for an HMO licence was introduced by the Executive on 3 July 2017. You can read the full report on the decision to set these fees.  

There are two fees to pay.  

The ‘fee on application’ covers the cost of administration and inspection. This payment is based on the number of rooms being let and should be made with the application – see table below.

The ‘fee on grant of licence’ covers the cost of the overall management of the HMO licence. This payment is payable just before the licence is granted. 

Once a HMO licence is granted, a refund will only be given in exceptional circumstances at our discretion, as the fees are calculated to cover our costs, which may have already been incurred.

Standard HMO licence and re-licence fees
No. bedrooms ('units of accommodation' or 'households') Fee on application Fee on grant of licence
1 £717 £444
2 £766 £444
3 £815 £444
4 £865 £444
5 £914 £444
6 £964 £444
7 £1,013 £444
8 £1,062 £444
9 £1,112 £444
10+ £1,161 £444

Apply for a licence

To apply for a HMO licence, you will need to: 

  1. Download a HMO licence application form
  2. Complete your application form - you can refer to our application guidance notes for further information
  3. Return your completed form to us by email at privatehousing@wandsworth.gov.uk

Ways to pay

Online

This is the preferred method of payment as it is quick and secure.  

Make a payment

By debit card

You should state with your application form that this is how you wish to pay and an officer will call you to arrange payment.

By post

Cheques should be made payable to Wandsworth Council. You should not send cash through the post. 

Post your cheque to:

Wandsworth Council
Environmental Health
Private Sector Housing Team
Town Hall
Wandsworth high Street
London
SW18 2PU

What happens next

Once you have submitted your application, we will review it to make sure it is complete and the initial fee has been paid.

We will then contact you to arrange to inspect the property to make sure it is suitable. An officer will inform you if:

  • any changes are needed to the property before a licence can be granted
  • a licence can be granted subject to additional conditions
  • a licence will be refused

In most cases, properties can be made suitable if required improvements are made, although the officer will determine the maximum number of occupants the HMO is suitable to accommodate bearing in mind the size of the HMO, the number and size of rooms and the amenities provided.

After you have submitted your application, you are allowed to operate an HMO, as if you have a licence, until we determine the licence.

If you have not heard from us within 4 weeks of making the application, email privatehousing@wandsworth.gov.uk.

Appealing a decision or condition

If you want to appeal against a condition attached to your licence or you have been refused a licence, you may appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal.

Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Pages in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)