Houses in multiple occupation

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) can be:

  • A shared house occupied by more than one household
  • A house divided into bedsits that is occupied by more than one household
  • An individual flat occupied by more than one household

Situations considered to be a household:

  • Couples that are married or in a civil partnership
  • Relatives living together, including parents, grandparents, children (and step children), grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or cousins
  • Half relatives are treated as full relatives
  • A foster child living with his foster parent 

HMO licensing requirements:

  • All HMOs that have five or more persons forming two or more households must be licensed 
  • Bedrooms occupied by a single adult must have at least 6.51 sq. m floor area
  • Bedrooms occupied by a couple must have at least 10.22 sq. m floor area
  • No room under 4.64 sq. m can be used as a bedroom by any person 

HMO licensing

To apply for a HMO license, complete the application form and return it with all the required supporting documentation and fees.

Any landlord operating a licensable HMO without a licence will be:

  • Committing a criminal offence
  • Liable for a fine up to £20,000 on successful prosecution, or a civil penalty of up to £30,000

Use our HMO reporting form to report a landlord you suspect of operating without a licence. 

We are legally obliged to collect and publish a register of HMO licences we have issued. This information is updated on a quarterly basis.

Temporary Exemption Notices

There are no long-term exemptions from licensing of licensable HMOs. However, s62 of the Housing Act 2004 allows a Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN) to be issued if the applicant notifies the council of their intention to take particular steps to secure that the house is no longer required to be licensed.

A TEN gives a landlord a 3-month window to put the property in a position where it no longer needs to be licensed. Perhaps a person took control of a property on the death of an owner or the current owner is in the final stages of a sale, after which the new owner will apply for a licence.

Any set of actions that are expected to take longer than three months are not ones where a TEN is likely to be suitable. The property continues to be treated as not requiring a licence for the period that the exemption is in force.

Any landlord or owner of a licensable HMO who wants further information on this issue should contact the Private Sector Housing Team.

Legal obligations

Proposed Article 4 Directions

The HMO Article 4 Directions affecting the creation of new HMOs in 10 zones across Crawley have been approved and take effect from 15 June 2022. These Directions have removed permitted development rights for dwelling houses to change their use to HMOs. Full details can be found on our Article 4 Directions page.