About the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence
If you own or manage a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) which comprises 3 or more storeys and is occupied by 5 or more people who are not of the same family, you must obtain a licence for the property. Please see the information about HMO licensing on this website and read the 'HMO licensing information pack' before making your application. This provides full details about eligibility for a licence, what 3 storey means, who should make the application, licence fees, licence holder’s responsibilities and other details you will find useful.
The property should comprise of 3 or more storeys and be occupied by 5 or more people, who form 2 or more households.
Information about fees can be found on our Housing pages on the council website. Licence fees will be reviewed annually and may change.
Reduced licence periods
A licence will normally run for a period of 5 years from the date of approval. We may, however, issue a licence for such lesser period as we consider appropriate, having regard to any management deficiencies, delays on returning application paperwork, the need for works to be carried out to put the HMO into a satisfactory condition, or concerns as to the fit and proper status of relevant people. Before reducing the standard term of a licence, we will discuss our concerns with the applicant.
The main legislation about mandatory HMO licensing is in Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004, sections 55 – 78. You can link to Part 2 of the Act here. In addition to the Housing Act 2004, there are a number of statutory instruments which also contain details about HMO licensing. Please click on the links below to see the relevant statutory instrument.
• The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Descriptions) (England) Order 2006
• The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006
• The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006
• The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007
• The Houses in Multiple Occupation (Certain Converted Blocks of Flats) (Modifications to the Housing Act 2004 and Transitional Provisions for section 257 HMOs) (England) Regulations 2007
Application evaluation process
Evaluating the licence application, the following criteria will be considered:
• Whether the application is fully completed and accompanied by a fee;
• Whether the dwelling is reasonably suitable for occupation by no more than the permitted maximum number of households or persons;
• Whether the proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence;
• Whether the proposed licence holder, and/or any manager is a fit and proper person, as defined by the Housing Act 2004;
• Whether there are adequate management arrangements for the dwelling;
The property will then be inspected on an agreed date and interested parties will be advised of any works required.
Will tacit consent apply?
No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. The notice of intention to grant (or refuse) a licence will be issued within 10 weeks of the date of receipt of your application. The full notice granting (or refusing) a licence will be issued as soon as possible following the end of the consultation period, but may depend on the number of comments received.
How to make an application
You can apply online, or by completing the application form by hand and posting it to us, using the address details given below. In order to make your application, you will need to do the following:
• Complete the ‘HMO licence application form’ . Please ensure that you complete all relevant sections with as much detail as possible. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept incomplete forms
• Pay the ‘licence fee’
• Provide a layout plan of the property showing room dimensions or room floor areas and noting where fire detection and other fire protection measures are situated
• Provide a landlord’s gas safety record, dated within the last 12 months, which covers all gas appliances in the property. This should be produced by a Gas Safe registered engineer or a CORGI registered engineer if produced before April 2009
• Provide a periodic electrical inspection report, dated within the last 5 years, from an electrical engineer registered with an organisation recognised by Part P of the Building Regulations 2000 (as amended)
• A fire risk assessment of the property
Apply online, tell us about a change to your existing licence
Licences are generally issued for 5 years, which is the maximum permitted period. However, they may be issued for less than 5 years in certain circumstances. Click here for more information. Towards the end of the licence period, an application to renew the licence must be submitted, assuming the property remains licensable.
Who to contact if you are refused a licence or wish to appeal against licence conditions
An applicant who is refused a licence, or a licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to their licence can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal Service (RPTS). However, it is advisable to speak to the officer dealing with your case in the first instance. Click here for RPTS contact details and more information.
Who to contact if you have any comments or complaints about the service
Any comments or complaints about the service should be made to the Private Housing Manager, using the details below, or by using the Council’s corporate complaints procedure. Click here to access the corporate complaints web page.
How to access public registers
The Council has a legal duty to keep a register of the following:
• Licensed properties
• Temporary Exemption Notices issued (relating to HMO licensing)
• Management Orders
Members of the public can view these registers at the offices of the Private Housing service. Please see the contact details below.
Southampton City Council – Private Housing contact details
If you need to contact us for advice or information about your licence application, please use the following:
• E-mail – email@example.com
• Post – Regulatory Services (Neighbourhoods), Southampton City Council, Floor 5, One Guildhall Square, Southampton SO14 7FP
• Telephone – 023 8083 2735
• Fax – 023 8083 2029
Other useful information
Landlord checklist for licensing applications
Guidance on Standards for HMOs
Communities and Local Government
Residential property Tribunal Service