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Types of licence

Types of 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.

Terms used

What a 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 family, cohabiting couple or separate individuals.

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.

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.

Licensing also applies 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.

Additional HMO licence

Additional licensing applies to HMOs in areas of the city where we've declared additional licensing schemes.

This scheme is for HMOs in the Eastville and St George areas of Bristol.

From 8 July 2019 the scheme will apply to HMOs in Central Bristol. See below for information on the additional HMO licence scheme in Central Bristol.

To see if your property is in the licensing areas around Eastville and St George you can check the:

It applies to privately rented flats or houses with three or four unrelated people, living in two or more households and sharing 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

You can apply for a licence from early June 2019. The deadline for applications to be submitted is 8 October 2019.

See the:

The Central Bristol licensing scheme covers the 12 wards:

  • Ashley
  • Bishopston and Ashley Down
  • Central
  • Clifton
  • Clifton Down
  • Cotham
  • Easton
  • Hotwells and Harbourside
  • Lawrence Hill
  • Redland
  • Southville
  • Windmill Hill   

Selective licence

Selective licensing applies to non-HMO properties in areas of the city where we've declared selective licensing schemes.

To see if your property is in the licensing areas around Eastville and St George you can check the:

It usually applies to privately rented properties occupied under a single tenancy or bedsits with individual tenancies.

If your property doesn’t meet the criteria for selective licensing, but is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) you may need to apply for an additional or mandatory licence.