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Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

All HMOs in the borough are required to be licensed, unless they fall within certain exempted categories.

If your HMO has 4 or more tenants please call us to see if you need a licence on 020 8359 5355 or by email hmos@barnet.gov.uk

A failure to license an address is a criminal offence and the Council may take prosecution proceedings or impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000. On conviction, the Court may impose an unlimited fine. You could also have control of your unlicensed properties taken away from you, and be ordered to repay up to 12 months’ rent to the Council or your tenants. You can view Barnet Council’s prosecutions and fines together with our enforcement policy here.

Useful links:

Landlord Licensing Handbook for Landlords of houses in multiple occupation. (keep a copy of this document for your reference). 
HMO Licensing Fees - Prices are correct as of 1 April 2018.
HMO Licensing application form - All parts of the form must be completed and signed. This can be emailed to hmos@barnet.gov.uk Once a complete application has been received we will contact you to arrange a full inspection of the property. If full access is not provided at this inspection you will be liable to an additional fee for a revisit. A second fee will be due at the inspection to be paid if the inspecting officer confirms that an HMO licence can be issued. The licence cannot be issued without this fee.

What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?

An HMO is a shared house, one that is occupied by people who do not form a single household. Examples include:

  • a house let as individual bed sitting rooms
  • a group of rooms on each floor let to single occupants
  • hostels, some hotels, guesthouses
  • lodgings, and shared houses
  • houses converted into self-contained flats

Before you apply, you need to check which kind of licence is required.

There are two types of licences

  • a mandatory HMO licence
  • an additional HMO Licence

Further guidance is provided below.

When is a Mandatory HMO Licence required?

An HMO needs a Mandatory Licence when:

  • it has 3 or more storeys (please see here for definition of a storey).
  • these storeys are occupied by 5 or more persons, forming two or more households
  • those persons live as two or more households
From 1 October 2018 HMOs occupied by five or more people will need to be licensed throughout England not just those with three or more storeys. A valid application must submitted by 1 October 2018, to be compliant with this new law.

While licensing will extend to most HMOs occupied by five or more people, multi-occupied purpose built flats in blocks are exempt. As an example, a tenth floor flat occupied by five or more friends will not need a mandatory HMO licence. If the same people lived in a ground floor flat in a converted building, a licence would be required.

When is an Additional HMO Licence required?

An HMO needs an Additional Licence when:

  • it has two or more storeys, occupied by four or more persons in two or more households and where some or all facilities are shared or lacking
  • It has two or more storeys, with a resident owner and is occupied by four or more other persons in two or more households and where some or all facilities are shared or lacking
  • it is a flat occupied by four or more persons in two or more households and where some or all facilities are shared or lacking and where the flat is on the second storey or higher
  • It is a building of three or more storeys that have been converted into and consist of four or more self-contained flats where the conversion was not undertaken in accordance with the Building Regulations 1991 (or later) and fail still to so comply; and where both the building and flats it contains are owned by the same person (none of the individual flats within the building being under separate ownership)
  • It is a house of two or more storeys comprised of both self-contained and non-self- contained units of accommodation occupied in aggregate by four or more persons in two or more households (not including a resident owner), some of whom share or lack one or more basic amenities such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities.

Some means one or more of the basic amenities referred to above including a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities.

How do I get more help with my HMO Licence Application?

There is an HMO licence application drop-off service from 2 to 4.30pm, on the second Thursday of every month, excluding bank other public holidays.

You can book an appointment by emailing hmos@barnet.gov.uk or by calling 020 8359 5355. Alternatively you can just drop-in, the sessions will be held at: Barnet House, N20 0EJ.

Please note that we are unable to answer any planning queries. For information on making planning applications and times of planning drop in's please see the 'Planning Applications: guide on how to comment' page.

Are there any exemptions to licensing?

Yes, the Housing Act 2004 specifies properties which are not HMOs for the purpose of the Act. Examples of properties where under certain circumstances no licence will be required under the proposed scheme are given at the end of this guide which you can read here.

Where an HMO does not have a licence, the Council may serve a Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN) when either the person having control of or managing a licensable HMO informs the Council that they intend to take particular steps to ensure that the property is no longer required to be licensed. Where a TEN is served, the property will not require a licence during the period for which the notice is in force. If you would like to apply for a TENs please complete the TENs application here and email it to hmos@barnet.gov.uk

How do I check if an HMO has a licence

Certain types of HMOs require a licence to ensure that they are adequately managed and meet certain standards. You can check to see if an HMO is licenced on the Barnet Open Data Website

How do I report an HMO?

If you know of an HMO which is licensable but has not been licensed, please report it by emailing the property address, and any further details to hmos@barnet.gov.uk

Do I need a Licence and Planning Permission?

There is a difference between the law concerning HMO licensing and planning law as it applies to HMOs. Both set out to achieve different aims.

Whilst licensing law is there primarily to protect the health, safety and welfare of the occupants of an HMO, planning legislation is intended to control the use of property in the wider public interest.

Having an HMO licence does not mean that planning permission is not required. Likewise having planning permission to use a property as an HMO does not mean that an HMO licence is not required.

Before considering converting a property to an HMO you should first confirm whether planning permission is required.

For further information on this, please visit the planning service web page.


  • HMO Licensing Team
  • Environmental Health
    Barnet House, 1255 High Road,
    Whetstone, London N20 0EJ
  • Tel: 020 8359 5355
  • Email: hmos@barnet.gov.uk

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