Licensing of houses in multiple occupation

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property rented out by at least 3 people forming more than one ‘household’, who share facilities like the bathroom and cooking facilities. Certain types of HMOs need to be licensed by the council. (See below)

Households include families, single persons and co-habiting couples (whether or not of the opposite sex). The property must be occupied as a main residence but includes student accommodation and that used by migrant workers or asylum seekers. If you are unsure whether your property is an HMO please contact us for further advice. 

Licensing of HMOs in Merton 

All landlords, letting agents and property managing agents who let houses in multiple occupation may need to apply for an HMO licence. 

The legislation requiring a mandatory license has been revised and from 1 October 2018, all HMOs with five or more tenants belonging to two or more households will need to be licensed, regardless of the number of storeys.  Prior to this change it was only mandatory if the HMO had five or more tenants belonging to two or more households in a building of three or more storeys. 

HMOs with four tenants or fewer do not require a licence. However, all HMOs need to comply with Housing Health and Safety Rating System

Landlords and agents who fail to apply for a licence may face fines of up to £20,000, receive a criminal record or be issued with Civil Penalty Notices. 

The Council’s HMO guide to landlords provides an overview of the licensing process in Merton and how to apply for a licence.

Further details on HMO Requirements can be found here.

Fire Safety standard for HMOs can be found at the LACORS Housing – Fire Safety Guidance.

Further guidance

Applying for a Licence

You can download a copy of the HMO Licence Application Form. The form provides further advice, guidance and associated fees.

Application forms can also be obtained from the Housing Enforcement Team.

Telephone:  020 8545 3212

Housing Enforcement Team
Civic Centre
London Road