HousesĀ In Multiple Occupation

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Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property rented out by at least three people who are not from a single ‘household’ (for example a family) but share facilities like a bathroom and kitchen. It is sometimes called a ‘house share’.

New laws introduced in October 2018 state that a licence is required for a HMO or shared house if:

  • It is rented to five or more people who form more than one household
  • Some or all tenants share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities
  • At least one tenant pays rent (or their employer pays it for them)

HMOs must be managed in accordance with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006  

If you are a landlord of a HMO meeting the above criteria you must ensure you have a licence in order to avoid enforcement action. If you do not comply you may face a financial penalty of up to £30,000, or prosecution. You may also be required to repay an amount of rent back to your tenants. 

Apply for a HMO Licence

If you require a licence, please download and complete the following form:

Please download these application guidance notes to help you. The Council also offers an assisted application service, for a charge. Please contact us on 0300 126 7000 to find out more.

Once a "duly made" (valid) application has been received with the required documentation and the fee, a Council Officer will arrange to inspect the property and determine if a licence can be issued.

To make a "duly made" (valid) application you must:

  1. Fully complete the application form
  2. Sign and return the declaration
  3. Pay the licence fee (by cheque made payable to West Northamptonshire Council or by card payment by telephoning 0300 126 7000)
  4. Submit the application form and all required documentation

Licence fees

A list of current licence fees can be found on the West Northants Council website or please email or call 0300 126 7000.  

Submitting your application 

You can submit the application form and documentation by:

  • Emailing 
  • By post to:
    Environmental Improvement
    West Northamptonshire Council (Daventry area)
    Lodge Road
    NN11 4FP 


Licences will normally be granted providing:

  • The property is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation
  • The applicant is a fit and proper person
  • The proposed manager or agent of the property is a fit and proper person
  • The management arrangements are satisfactory.

 We aim to make a decision about the licence within 3 month of the receipt of a "duly made" application form. Licences are usually issued for a period of five years and a separate licence application is required for each property.

Licence renewals

An application form must be completed in full along with the required supporting documentation for all licence renewals. Please see the above section, 'Applying for a HMO Licence' for the requirements of a 'duly made' application. Please ensure the application for a licence renewal is submitted in sufficient time to ensure continuity of the licence.

Variation of a HMO Licence

If there has been a material change in circumstance at a property which currently holds a HMO licence, a variation in licence maybe required. It will be necessary to apply for a variation where the licence holder proposes to increase the permitted occupancy.

Licences are not transferable and if the owners of the property have changed then a new licence application is required.

Use this form to tell us about:

  • A change of address, or a new manager appointed
  • A property being altered or extended and permitted number of occupants increased; or
  • A variation due to policy or legislation changes

Please complete the Variation of a HMO Licence form and return it to

Report a HMO

The licensing of HMOs helps to protect the health and safety of tenants, ensures that only suitable landlords have control of HMOs, and helps make sure that properties are managed properly.

If you live in or near a shared house that you believe may be unlicensed or in a poor state of repair, we would like to hear from you.

Please contact us:

Civil Penalties

The Council may decide to issue a Civil Penalty.  A civil penalty is a financial penalty of up to £30,000 per offence which can be imposed by the Council on an individual or organisation as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences and non-compliance of notices under the Housing Act 2004 and the Housing and Planning Act 2016. 

Housing and Enforcement Policy

From 1st April 2021, the West Northants Council Housing and Enforcement Policy can be viewed at 

If you require a copy in the meantime, email or call 01327 302260. 

Further guidance

Fire safety

West Northamptonshire Council works in partnership with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Find out more information on fire safety by downloading the LACORS Guidance

HMO fire door safety

A fire door is a safety device that is a mandatory requirement in every commercial, public or House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). In the event of fire, a fire door is designed to delay the spread of fire and smoke; protecting lives and property. Read our information sheet to find out more about your rights as a tenant and your obligations as a HMO Landlord.


Register of licensed HMOs

The Council is required to compile and maintain a list of licensed HMOs.  Download a copy of the register

General help and advice


Further guidance for landlords


DASH Services' information for landlords

DASH Services are the region's leading provider of housing advice and information for the private rented sector. The DASH Services Website - Resources Page contains a wide range of useful information including a 'Landlord Library' with sections on property standards, legal, top tips and useful links.

Private landlords are invited to join DASH Services' landlord accreditation scheme for free. It is completely voluntary, and accredited landlords will benefit from training opportunities, recognition of maintaining good standards of practice, and receive support and guidance.  Find out more information and register for the accreditation scheme on the DASH Services Website - Landlord Accreditation Page - opens in new window.


Further guidance for tenants  


Know your rights


Any questions?

If you are unsure if your property requires a licence, or you need some further information about HMOs, then please contact us