Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) | Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) | Sevenoaks District Council

Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

HMOs provide affordable housing for many tenants.

The Housing Act 2004 provides a definition for several types of HMO ranging from a typical bedsit-type through to houses converted into two or more self-contained flats.

Within the Sevenoaks District there are a number of two-storey properties that house more than three people who do not live as a single household and share facilities, usually a bathroom or kitchen. Such properties are HMOs and therefore required to meet basic requirements including fire precautions. Visit the houses in multiple occupation pages on GOV.UK for more information.

Changes in the law from 1 October 2018

Under the current arrangements, a HMO licence is required for residential properties over three or more floors with ‘common areas’ such as lounge and kitchen areas that are shared by more than one household.

But as of 1 October 2018, all HMOs with five or more people with two or more family units now require a licence. 

The government estimates that the changes will mean an extra 160,000 properties will need to be licensed in England. We estimate that up to 69 additional properties will need to be licensed across the District.

Renting your property as an HMO

All HMOs are required to meet minimum standards and responsibilities.  

Properties will be assessed by the Council to check they meet the required standards as set out in the Council's Guidance to HMO amenity standards leaflet.

An HMO licence may also be required if a property meets very specific criteria, including being at least three storeys high, occupied by at least five tenants who share basic amenities.

If you believe a property requires a licence, please contact us for further information and advice.

Making a licence application

Before applying for an HMO licence please read the Council's Guidance to HMO amenity standards as they explain the requirements you must comply with.

The licence fee depends upon the number of persons in the property. To find out the cost as process of licensing a HMO, please contact us.

To apply, renew or change an existing HMO licence, please contact our team on 01732 227000. 

Further information

How to rent: checklist for renting in England on GOV.UK 

HMOs: a guide for landlords and managers on GOV.UK

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