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 has any number of storeys
  • 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 four friends are four households, even if they share a tenancy.

In some cases a maisonette in a house or above commercial premises may need a licence.

You can apply online for a licence.

Changes to mandatory licensing

At the moment it's only HMOs in an additional licensing scheme, or with three or more storeys and five or more people  that need a licence.

From 1 October 2018 HMOs that are occupied by five or more people with any number of storeys will be licensable.

This means that flats, converted flats and one or two story properties will become licensable.

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 must be received by 1 October 2018 or the property will be treated as unlicensed and a higher licence fee will apply.


There is a cost for this licence.

Type of licence Cost Reward Cost after reward
Renewal £1075 £250 £825
New £1350 £250 £1100
Unlicensed £1550 None £1550


An unlicensed property has been let for longer than 28 days without an application being made.

More information on mandatory licensing fees.


This property licensing appeals document sets out the appeals procedure in relation to Bristol City Council property licensing.

Fire safety guidance

The government has issued fire safety guidance to help us comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO).

This means there is a consistent risk assessment approach in private rented properties by fire services and councils. Compliance with the guidance will also satisfy the HMO licensing requirement.