HMO mandatory, additional and selective licensing FAQs

Frequently asked questions about HMO mandatory, additional and selective licensing including deadlines for application.

1 What is an HMO?

HMO stands for house in multiple occupation.

It is a house or flat which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.

The full definition and exclusions can be found in the Housing Act 2004, Section 254 to 264 and Schedule 14.

2 What is a household?

A household is one person or people who are all members of the same family, in that they are married; live together as partners; are related to each other; or one of them is, or is a relative of, one member of a couple and the other is a relative of the other member of the couple

A “couple” means two persons who are married or in an equivalent relationship; “relative” means parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or cousin; including half and step relationships.

3 How do I know if my property is and HMO?

Here are some examples to show what can be an HMO

An HMO can be a:

o    2 bedroom flat with 1 cohabiting couple living with 1 unrelated tenant
o    3 bedroom house with 3 unrelated tenants

An HMO isn't a:
o    2 bedroom house or flat with 2 unrelated tenants
o    3 bedroom house with a brother, sister and cousin sharing
o    Live in landlord with one or two lodgers

4 How long is the licence valid for?

Licences can be granted for up to five years. The council may grant licences for shorter periods, such as two years, in certain circumstances. If your licence period is less than five years you will be informed in writing why the council has limited the period.

5 Are there conditions attached to the licence?

There will be a number of conditions attached to licences, some of which are set out in legislation or regulations ('mandatory conditions') and some of are set by the council.

Mandatory licensing

1 What are the requirements for a mandatory licence for an HMO?

HMOs are required to meet certain standards relative to the number of people living in the accommodation, such as the size of rooms, shared amenities per person e.g. bathrooms and kitchens and fire safety measures
HMOs also have to be managed properly and landlords/managers have to be “fit and proper” persons.

A mandatory HMO licence is required if it has 5 or more occupiers and is not a purpose built flat in a block (which would require an additional HMO licence – see 'Additional licensing' below)

2 How much does a licence cost?

The fee for a Mandatory HMO Licence depends on the number of bedrooms. In 2022/23 and 2023/24 the fee is £1,300 for a 5 bedroom HMO plus £160 for each additional bedroom.

For an Additional HMO or Selective Licence the fee is £560

There is a discount of £80 if you are a member of an accredited landlord body such as the NLA, RLA or LLAS or a discount of £50 if you have signed up to the landlord rental charter as part of the application process.

Only one discount is applied per licence.

Payment must be made online when you make your application

We do not accept cheques or cash payments.

Additional licensing

1 What is the additional licensing scheme?

This is a discretionary scheme that the council has adopted to help to deal with the problems associated with HMOs that are not already covered by mandatory licensing.

The scheme includes smaller shared houses and flats with 3 or 4 occupiers; purpose built flats in blocks with any number of occupiers;  some sub-standard properties converted into self-contained flats.

2 When did the additional licensing scheme come into force?

Hammersmith and Fulham’s additional HMO licensing scheme started on 5 June 2017 and was extended from 5 June 2022 until 4 June 2027

3 What is the designated area for additional licensing scheme?

The additional licensing designated area covers the whole of the area of the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

4 What types of HMOs are not subject to licensing?

The following types of property are not regarded as HMOs: 

1.    Buildings controlled or managed by public sector bodies e.g. registered social landlords, police authorities, health services etc. 
2.    Buildings regulated by other legislation e.g. care homes, detention centres etc. 
3.    Buildings controlled or managed by an educational establishment and occupied by the establishment's students 
4.    Buildings occupied by religious communities whose principal occupation is prayer, contemplation, education or the relief of suffering 
5.    Buildings occupied by the owner and members of his household, provided there are no more than two lodgers
6.    Buildings occupied only by two persons 

5 How does additional HMO licensing work?

Anyone who owns or manages an HMO in H&F has to apply to the council for a licence. The council must issue a licence if it is satisfied that:

  • the HMO is reasonably suitable for occupation by the number of occupants/households allowed under the licence and  
  • the proposed licence holder is a 'fit and proper person' and  
  • the proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence and  
  • the proposed manager (if there is one) is a 'fit and proper person' and  
  • the proposed management arrangements are satisfactory and  
  • the person involved in the management of the HMO is competent 

If the council is not satisfied with the above then they may decide to refuse the licence or impose further conditions on the licence holder to, for example, to make the property suitable.

A copy of the proposed licence or reasons for proposing to refuse the licence has to be issued before a final decision is made. This allows applicants a further period in which to make representations on the council's proposed course of action.

Following the representation period a final decision is made and the licence is either issued or refused. There is then an opportunity to appeal to a tribunal if you are not satisfied with the council's decision.

Selective licensing

1 What is selective licensing?

On 6 December 2021 Hammersmith council decided to renew the selective licensing scheme for a period of 5 years.  We have designated 24 streets for the purposes of the scheme. Please see the report to cabinet which describes our findings.

Improving private sector housing through discretionary property licensing (pdf)

The streets in the new scheme

The 8 new streets are marked with an asterisk.

Askew Road          
Baron's Court Road*          
Bloemfontein Road           
Blythe Road*          
Coningham Road*          
Crookham Road*         
Dalling Road          
Dawes Road          
Fulham Road 
Goldhawk Road*
Greyhound Road
King Street
Lime Grove
New King's Road 
North End Road
Richmond Way*
Scrubs Lane
Shepherd's Bush Road
Sinclair Road*
Talgarth Road 
Uxbridge Road 
Wandsworth Bridge Road* 
Wood Lane 
Woodstock Grove

2 How much will a selective licence cost?

The cost of a selective licence in Hammersmith council is currently £560

3 How will the licensing money be spent?

Licence fees go towards the administration costs and management and enforcement of the selective licensing scheme.

4 I have a selective licence for my property, do I need to apply?

Landlords who currently hold a selective license can apply to renew the licence up to 3 months before that licence expires if the property is on one of the streets in the new 2022 scheme.

5 Do I need to provide documents with my selective licence application?

If you have gas appliance at your property, then a current gas safety certificate is required.  

6 What fire safety is required for a selective licensable property?

Please see our standards and guidance for selective properties for houses and flats on selective licensing streets. Standards for selective licensing and streets.

7 Are there any properties that are exempt from selective licensing?

Some properties would be exempt from licensing, including:

  • Local Housing Authorities or Registered Social Landlords (Housing Associations) tenancies
  • Where a family member rents the property from the owner
  • Where the building owner lives in the home and rents rooms up to two lodgers
  • Licensable HMO's (Houses in Multiple Occupation) under part 2 of the housing act 2004
  • Properties where the council has taken action to close the property down.

8 Is there a right to appeal if a licence is refused?

Yes, there is an appeal to the First Tier Residential Property Tribunal

3rd Floor 10 Alfred Place WC1E 7LR 

Tel: 020 7291 7250 

9 Will the list of licenced premises and their landlords be made public?

Yes, the addresses of all licenced properties are on the public register.  However the full register can be viewed for free over a teams meeting.  Or it can be paid for where all licence holders addresses, managers, names and addresses are included.

A copy of the register costs £54

10 Is there a 'fit and proper' test for landlords?

All landlords applying for a licence have to be a ‘fit and proper’ person. This means having no history of housing offences; fraud, violence, or drugs offences; sexual offences; unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sex, colour, race, ethnic or disability in connection with the carrying out of any business.

11 What are the penalties for not having a licence?

There could be an unlimited fine on prosecution.

A financial penalty of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution.

The landlord maybe considered not ’fit and proper’ and therefore refused to be the holder of a property licence.

The tenant or council could also apply for a rent repayment order, where the landlord could be ordered to pay up to 12 months’ rent.


1 I already run a licensed HMO, do I require a licence for my other houses?

Yes. You must hold a separate licence for each property that meets the licensing criteria, whether under the mandatory or the additional licensing scheme.

2, Why do I need to tell third parties, such as my mortgage provider, about my HMO application?

Licences are legally enforceable and may require changes to the house. People with a legal interest in the property have a statutory right to know how the HMO licence may affect them.

This would include mortgage providers, other owners, or managers.

3 What can I di if I suspect that a property should be licensed or if there are more people living in an HMO that are permitted under the licence?

If you have any concerns you can check the current Register of Licensed HMOs see Property licensing for landlords and letting agents.

If it is not on the register, report it to the council on or 0208 753 1081

4 I am selling the HMO soon, what do I need to do?

Licences are non-transferable. When you sell a licensed HMO you must inform Hammersmith & Fulham Council that you have done so because, in effect, you surrender your licence. The new owner will need to apply for a new licence.  

5 I've been asked to provide a management agreement as one of my licence conditions. What does this include?

As a minimum the agreement should include the following;

  • The licence holder has control of the property with the owners consent
  • The licence holder has the monetary funds available for repairs and emergency works at the property
  • The licence holder has consent from the owner to use these funds in an emergency without discussing it/contacting the owner for permission
  • All responsibility for the management, letting and repair of the property is with the licence holder
  • The agreement must be dated and signed, and give their timescale of the agreement.  Must be signed by both parties

6 I've been sent a copy of a licence but I am not the licence holder, why has it been sent to me?

The council has a statutory requirement to send a copy of the licence to all interested parties, you may be the rent collector, rent receiver, mortgage company, a statutory tenant, freeholder, managing agent and or leaseholder. 

7 I have been sent multiple copies of licensing documentation, why?

The council has a statutory requirement to send a copy of the licence to all interested parties, you may be the rent collector, rent receiver, mortgage company, a statutory tenant, freeholder, managing agent and or leaseholder. If you hold more than one of these is applicable to an individual or company then you will be sent a copy for each.

8 Can a property receive a property licence if the lease does not allow for private renting or use as an HMO?

Yes. Whether the lease agreement allows for rental or HMO use is a civil matter between the leaseholder and freeholder. The council may still grant a licence if there are tenants already in occupation, but may shorten the length of the licence to two years to enable the licence holder to either obtain a waiver of the lease condition from the freeholder, or to cease using the property in a way which breaches a lease condition.

Planning permission

1 Do I also need planning permission?

Planning permission is and always has been required to convert a single family house into a large HMO with 7 or more unrelated persons sharing. This is legislation and is not new. A change of use will be needed from class C3 to sui generis.

Application process

1 How do I apply for a mandatory, additional or selective licence?

You can now apply online for your licence.

Apply for your property licence online

Please take care when completing the application form and make sure you upload the required documents. 

2 What documents do I need to support my licence application?

Do not begin your online HMO licence application without the correct valid documents.

  • Gas Safety Certificate (required for properties with a gas supply)  
  • Plans of the property that fall under mandatory and additional licensing

3 What should the plans look like?

HMO floor plans can be hand drawn providing they are legible. View the pdf below for examples of a HMO floor plans with a key to their annotations.

4 My certificate expires soon. Can I send our existing certificate as long as it is in date at the time of the application?

As long as the certificates are in date at the time of the application, then that will be fine.

We will place conditions on your licence for new certificates. 

5 Do I need to carry out a fire risk assessment?

As the owner, landlord or occupier of a business or non-domestic premises you are responsible for ensuring it is safe from fire. This includes ensuring that a risk assessment has been carried out by a competent person. 

6 What if my property does not meet the standards or requires work?

Contact the Council on or 0208 753 1703

7 Once I have submitted my application, what happens next?

The application is processed once all relevant information, documents and payment has been received.

The information you provide will assist the council as to whether to grant or refuse a licence.

A provisional decision is sent to all interested parties.  If no representation is received within the specified time period, the council will proceed to issue the final decision documentation, which is sent to all interested parties. 

8 What happens if I do not agree with the council decision or conditions placed in the licence.

You will have the opportunity to make a representation to council, within 21 days, if you have any concerns about the proposal to licence.  The council will aim to respond to your concerns within 21 days. If you are not satisfied with the response you may make a further representation to the council within 14 days. The council will respond to you within 14 days. If you remain unsatisfied you have the right to appeal to the First Tier Property Tribunal

9 Is the council using licensing fees to raise money?

The fee charged will cover the costs associated with administering the scheme and the scheme is required to be self-financing. The council is not permitted to make a financial gain from the scheme. This fee has been calculated to cover the cost of the assessing applications, issuing of licences/ accompanying documents, inspections, licensing enforcement and monitoring of properties. 

10 How do I contact the private sector housing HMO team?

Any one who requires general advice should contact us at

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