Mandatory House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing

Mandatory House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing

You need to apply for a licence if you're a landlord of a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). This means the property meets certain standards and is safe and suitable for the number of people who live there.

Your property is a licensable HMO if all of the following apply:

  • it's rented to five or more people from two or more households
  • it has shared facilities like a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room

A household is a family, cohabiting couple or separate individuals. For example five friends are five households, even if they share a tenancy.

You can apply online for a licence.

Changes to mandatory licensing

From 1 October 2018 if you rent a property to five or more people from two or more households you must apply for a mandatory licence or face a penalty.

This means that flats or converted flats on any number of storeys are licensable.

Previously this only applied to properties of three or more storeys, occupied by five or more people from two or more households.

Licensing will also apply to blocks of purpose-built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both are occupied as an HMO.

You can apply online now. Applications from existing HMOs that weren't received by midnight on 30 September 2018 could result in legal action and financial penalties.


We’re reviewing the way we charge fees for a property licence.

You still need to submit your application using our property licence application form.

After you have submitted your application we will contact you to arrange payment.

Standards and conditions

The Bristol City Council HMO licensing standards document has been updated and is now split into two separate documents, Room size and amenity standards for Licensable HMOs and Fire safety standards for licensable HMOs.  These are the latest versions of the licensing standards and apply to additional and mandatory HMO licences.

Fire safety