Houses in Multiple Occupation

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property where tenants share a room such as a bathroom or kitchen with someone else in the property.

HMO Rules and Regulations

HMOs have specific rules that apply such as:

  • fire precautions
  • overcrowding standards

To make sure that these rules are followed, Private Sector Housing (PSH) Officers visit all HMOs in the City.

If you have an HMO or are thinking of starting a HMO please contact PSH with your contact details and the address of the property at: or 01702 215002.

Further advice and application forms are available on our HMO Application and Payment Form Information page.

There are 3 main types of HMOs

Non-licensable HMO


S. 254, of the Housing Act 2004


An entire house or flat which is let to:

  • at least three tenants,
  • forming two or more households
  • sharing a facility such as a bathroom, toilet or kitchen

Licensable HMO


Part 2 Housing Act 2004


Buildings that are occupied by five or more persons who form two or more households.

Certain converted blocks of flats


S.257, of the Housing Act 2004


  • a building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats, if the conversion did not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations
  • more than one-third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies

What is a Household?

A household is defined under of the s.258 Housing Act 2004 as: Persons are to be regarded as forming a single household if:

a) all members of the household are related, or

b) if a couple are living as husband or wife (or equivalent relationship).

Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing

It is a criminal offence to operate a licensable HMO without an HMO licence.

How do I apply for an HMO Licence?

The application form can be downloaded, typed and submitted electronically, or printed and filled in by hand then sent to us via post.

The fee is £995 for the first 6 lets, and £50 per additional lettable unit thereafter.

The Council has powers and duties to act should you operate a licensable HMO but fail to make a full application with fee within a reasonable or requested period. This would constitute an offence punishable through the courts with a maximum fine of £20,000. Where licence holders fail to apply, the Council also has powers to claim back housing benefit paid rent via a Rent Repayment Order (RRO), or take control of the property, including control over tenancies and rent via an Interim Management Order (IMO).

HMO Licence Register in Southend

The HMO Licence Register is used to identify licensed HMOs and management arrangements. It is not meant for marketing purposes and none of the individuals or organisations mentioned within this register have given their consent for such use. The HMO register directory is continually being updated. If you need to rely on the register for any legal purposes, please email the private sector housing team to request a copy of the current HMO licence register.

Contact us – Private Sector Housing

Telephone: 01702 215002

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