Types of property licence
Types of property licence
What the three types of property licence are, where we have licensing schemes running, and the standards and conditions of each licence.
There are three types of private property licences:
- mandatory house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence
- additional HMO licence
- selective licence
Fill in the online application form if you're not sure if you need a licence or which type.
We’ll ask you some questions about your property to find out which licence you need before you continue to the main part of the application form.
What an HMO is
Your property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:
- at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
- there are shared facilities such as toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities
What a household is
A household is a separate individual, co-habiting couple or a family. A family includes parents, grandparents, children (including foster children, stepchildren and children being cared for), grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or cousins.
For example, five friends are five households, even if they share a tenancy, and a co-habiting couple and a friend would constitute two households.
We inspect all registered properties at least once within the licence period (usually 5 years) to check they comply with the standards and conditions. The inspection will involve an officer visiting the property and conducting several checks.
Mandatory HMO licence
You need a mandatory HMO licence if you’re renting out a property that has:
- five or more people from two or more households
- shared toilets, bathrooms or cooking facilities
This means that houses, flats or converted flats on any number of storeys are licensable.
Additional HMO licence
Additional licensing applies to HMOs in areas of the city where we've declared additional licensing schemes.
It applies to privately rented flats or houses, where 3 or 4 unrelated people live in 2 or more households and share some basic facilities.
Additional HMO licence scheme: Central Bristol
From 8 July 2019 to 2024 all privately rented HMOs in the Central Bristol area will require a licence under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004.
- Central Bristol licence scheme declaration for official notice. (pdf, 91KB) (opens new window)
- map of the Central Bristol additional licensing scheme area
The Central Bristol licensing scheme covers the 12 wards:
- Bishopston and Ashley Down
- Clifton Down
- Hotwells and Harbourside
- Lawrence Hill
- Windmill Hill
Selective licensing applies to non-HMO properties in areas of the city where we've declared selective licensing schemes.
Bedminster, Brislington West and Horfield wards additional and selective licensing scheme
From 6 April 2022, a new licensing scheme will come into effect covering the three wards above.
In Bedminster and Brislington West wards, additional and selective licensing will apply. Most privately rented properties will need to be licensed.
In Horfield ward only, an additional licensing scheme will come into effect. Most privately rented HMOs will need an additional licence from 6 April 2022, if not already covered by mandatory licensing.
Eastville and St George licensing scheme
From 30 June 2021, we're not accepting new applications for this scheme.
To see if your property is in the licensing areas around Eastville and St George you can check the list of streets in the Eastville and St George licensing area (pdf, 97KB) (opens new window) .