Melton Borough Council

Houses in multiple occupation

What is an HMO?

An HMO is a house in multiple occupation.

Which HMOs require a licence?

The Government has changed the HMO licensing requirements so that the number of storeys that a property has is no longer relevant. This means a landlord / manager of a HMO will be required to hold a license if the property has:

  • five or more occupants;
  • forming more than two households

If you are a landlord / manager of a HMO that meets the above criteria you need to apply for a licence immediately.  It is a criminal offence to operate a licensable HMO without a licence.

How to apply for a HMO Licence as a landlord

You must complete the HMO licence application form and return it to the Council with the required fee.  The guidance notes should be read before completing the application form.

We expect it to take up to 3 months from receipt of a complete application (including the submission of all the required documents) to determine the licence application and either grant or refuse the licence.

The application form must be accompanied by a number of documents which are listed on the application form.

You can apply printing the form below

How much does a HMO licence cost and how long does it last?

 HMO licences usually last for 5 years but this can occasionally be for a shorter period depending on the circumstances.  The fee reflects the amount of work that the Council is required to carry out on a standard application and the monitoring during the licence period.  There are reduced fees for applications to renew existing licences and for multiple applications received at the same time.

The fee is split into two parts; the application fee covers the cost of processing the licence and is non-refundable if the application is not successful or is withdrawn.  There is a separate charge to cover the costs of the licensing scheme during the period of the licence, which is payable once a licence has been issued.  You may pay the whole charge together if you prefer.

There are reduced fees where more than one application is made at the same time. 

Cost for new licences


Application fee

Monitoring fee


First application




Second and each subsequent application







Application fee

Monitoring fee


First application




Second and each subsequent application





What should I do if I think a property should be licensed but isn't?

All HMO licences are listed on the Council's Public Register of HMO licences.  If the property you suspect is not on that register, you can provide the Council with the address and other information that you think is useful.

However you choose to contact us, we will treat the information in the strictest confidence. We will never pass your details onto anyone involved in the management of the property.

What happens if a HMO requires a licence but the landlord / manager doesn't hold a licence?

It is a criminal offence to operate a HMO without a licence if it is required to have one.  Landlords can be prosecuted in Magistrates Court and given an unlimited fine.  In addition the Council and tenants can apply for a rent repayment order and claim back up to 12 months rent / housing benefit payments.  Alternatively, the Council may choose to issue a civil penalty which could be up to £30,000.

Fire Safety Guidance

The Government has issued guidance on fire safety to assist in understanding what has to be done for HMOs to comply with the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The intention of this guidance is to ensure that there is a consistent risk assessment approach in private rented properties by both Fire Services and Local Authorities.  Compliance with the guidance should in most cases also satisfy the HMO licensing requirement. 

It is a requirement that all HMOs (not just licensed HMOs) have a fire risk assessment conducted and the appropriate fire safety measures put in place. Further information on fire safety and how to do a fire risk assessment can be found on the website of  Decent and Safe Homes in the East Midlands (DASH).

What standards do licensed HMOs have to meet?

Before issuing a HMO licence the Council have to be satisfied that the property is suitable for the number of occupants applied for and that it is safe. The Council have published  minimum space and amenity standards that all licensed HMO must meet.

These standards vary depending on the type of HMO such as bedsits, shared houses (such as student houses), hostels etc. and cover:

  • Minimum bedroom sizes
  • The number of bathrooms and toilets required
  • The minimum size of the kitchen / shared living space and the number of cooking facilities


What conditions are attached to a HMO licence?

All HMO licences must have mandatory conditions attached to them. These conditions cover issues including:

  • The maximum number of occupants and households
  • Gas safety
  • Electrical Safety
  • Fire safety
  • Kitchen and bathroom amenities
  • Management standards including the requirement for the license holder to be a fit and proper person
  • Landlord and tenant agreements

In addition the Council can add discretionary conditions where it is deemed appropriate to do so.

What happens if the standards in the HMO are not safe or do not meet the conditions of their licence?

It is a criminal offence to break any of the licence conditions or to not maintain a HMO in a safe and reasonable condition. The landlord / licence holder can be prosecuted for this offence and fined an unlimited amount.

All licensed HMOs will be inspected as part of the application process and a further inspection will be conducted approximately half way through the 5 year term of the licence.  The Council can carry out additional inspections if they deem it necessary (for example if complaints from the tenants are received).

If serious health and safety issues are identified the Council can take legal action to protect the occupants. This can include serving legal notices requiring the landlord to make repairs, or in the most serious cases it can conduct emergency repairs or close all or parts of the property.

Guidance for landlords

DASH Guide to amenities and space in HMOs

LACORS National fire safety guidance

Public register of licensed HMO's

We have available to view a public register of those HMO's licensed by us.

How to apply

If you are a landlord with a qualifying licensable HMO, you will need to complete the HMO licensing application form. Please be aware that when submitting this form any personal information you give to us is covered by the Environmental Health Privacy Notice .

The fee for a licence application is shown in the table above and your payment must accompany the application form for it to be valid.  You could also pay online by debit card if you prefer, selecting 'environmental health licences' from the pick list.