If you own or manage a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) you may need to obtain a licence for the property. It is a criminal offence to operate an HMO without a licence. Landlords who are caught can be heavily fined by the courts.

Mandatory HMO licensing

Your property qualifies for a Mandatory HMO if:

  • It comprises at least three storeys
  • At least five occupants live there, forming more than one household
  • The occupants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

Mandatory licences are normally issued for the maximum permitted period of five years, from the date of approval.

We may issue a licence for a shorter length of time if there have been:

  • Management deficiencies
  • Delays on returning application paperwork
  • The need for works to be carried out to put the HMO into a satisfactory condition
  • 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.

Additional HMO licensing

1 July 2013

We introduced an additional HMO licensing scheme on 1 July 2013 which covers all HMOs (excluding those subject to mandatory licensing) in four wards of the city:

  • Bargate
  • Bevois
  • Swaythling
  • Portswood

The scheme has been successful in improving housing conditions in thousands of properties and ensuring the health and safety of many residents of Southampton.

These licences will expire on 30 June 2018 when this additional licensing designation ends.

20 October 2015

We introduced a second, additional HMO licensing scheme on 20 October 2015. It covers all HMOs (excluding those subject to mandatory licensing) in a further four wards of the city:

  • Shirley
  • Freemantle
  • Millbrook
  • Bassett

These licences will expire on 19 October 2020 when this additional licensing designation ends.

Check if your property needs an HMO licence

You can check your property online. You will need a MySouthampton account to use this form as you will be asked to log in or sign up.

Check if your property needs an HMO licence 

For more information, please read our HMO frequently asked questions.