Do I need a HMO licence for 3 tenants?

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A property is classed as a HMO if there are three or more tenants but there is no requirement to have a mandatory licence unless your property has 5 or more tenants.

However, your local council may impose other laws as part of the Housing Act 2004 that allow them to have their own additional licensing. So, to check if there is a licence required on a property, check out the below table:

Borough Number of tenants required
Barking and Dagenham 3
Barnet 3
Bexley 5
Brent 3
Bromley 5
Camden 3
Croydon 3
Ealing 3
Enfield 3
Greenwich 5
Hackney 3
Hammersmith and Fulham 3
Haringey 3
Harrow 3
Havering 3
Hillingdon 5
Hounslow 3
Islington 3
Kensington and Chelsea 3
Kingston upon Thames 3
Lambeth 3
Lewisham 3
Merton 5
Newham 3
Redbridge 3
Richmond upon Thames 5
Southwark 5
Sutton 3
Tower Hamlets 3
Waltham Forest 3
Wandsworth 5
Westminster 3

If you can see the borough with your property on this list and there is the number 5 for the number of tenants, this means you don’t need an additional licence. Click here for a full list of London boroughs if you’re not sure about where to find the requirements for your borough.

What is a HMO licence?

In the UK, a HMO stands for a home of multiple occupancy. In order to maintain this class of property landlords must follow a series of regulations that grant them a licence.

However, things can get confusing when there are more than one type of licence for HMOs. To make things simple, there are only really 2 types of licences.

Additional licences that are sometimes requested on top of the mandatory licences.

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What is a mandatory licence?

A mandatory licence must be on all properties in the UK that are classed as HMOs that have 5 or more tenants. This is so that local authorities can keep track of the number of things.

What is an additional licence?

An additional licence is a licence that is requested in housing located in boroughs that have a certain number of tenants and whether the licence is needed or not is up to the council.

How much is a licence for 3 tenants?

The prices for HMO licencing varies between boroughs for both additional licences and mandatory licences. The below table gives you an idea of the prices but you should always check the website of each council to make sure the information you’re seeing is up to date

Borough Mandatory License Price Additional License Price
Barking and Dagenham £500 £750
Barnet £600 £900
Bexley £450 £650
Brent £700 £1,000
Bromley £550 £800
Camden £800 £1,200
Croydon £600 £900
Ealing £700 £1,000
Enfield £550 £800
Greenwich £650 £950
Hackney £750 £1,100
Hammersmith and Fulham £800 £1,200
Haringey £700 £1,000
Harrow £600 £900
Havering £500 £750
Hillingdon £550 £800
Hounslow £650 £950
Islington £750 £1,100
Kensington and Chelsea £900 £1,350
Kingston upon Thames £600 £900
Lambeth £700 £1,000
Lewisham £650 £950
Merton £550 £800
Newham £800 £1,200
Redbridge £600 £900
Richmond upon Thames £650 £950
Southwark £750 £1,100
Sutton £500 £750
Tower Hamlets £800 £1,200
Waltham Forest £650 £950
Wandsworth £700 £1,000
Westminster £900 £1,350

Feeling lost looking for a HMO license?

Our property management team stays on top of your property documents & licenses and make sure you get the right license at the right time for the right property

Is it possible for a HMO to not need any licensing if there are 3 people?

Yes, a HMO in a borough where the requirement for an additional licence is 5 tenants will not need a licence at all. As an example, a property in Bexley with 4 tenants will not need any licence as the requirement for a mandatory licence (as a general rule for the UK) is 5 tenants.

As well as this, the requirement for an additional licence (as required by Bexley council) is also 5 tenants. So, a landlord with a property here will be able to get away without any licencing.

However, this is to say that they do not have to follow the HMO regulations of the borough. Find out about this here.

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