Chelmsford City Council

Licensing a house in multiple occupation

Your property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and needs a licence if:

  • five or more people live in two or more households
  • the people living there share or lack a bathroom, toilet and/or cooking facilities

You can check GOV.UK for more information about which HMOs need a licence.

If you're not sure if your property will need a licence, you can check with us or get independent specialist advice.

You can also check for existing properties on the HMO register.

If your property is an HMO that needs a licence, you can apply, renew or change your licence.

To apply, renew or change your licence, you will need to:

If you are having trouble downloading the application form, you can read our guidance.

A HMO licence lasts for five years.

Supporting documents

When you make your application, you will need to provide a number of documents. 

You will need:

  • a current gas safety certificate
  • a current electrical installation condition report
  • a written fire risk assessment
  • a plan of the property showing room sizes, numbers of rooms and numbers of occupiers in each room

If you plan to make changes to your property so that it no longer needs a licence, you can apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice. This lasts for three months.

The fee for an HMO with up to five units of accommodation is £900.

The fee for HMOs with more than five units is £900 for the first five units, plus £55 for each additional unit.

For example, the fee for an eight-unit HMO is £1,065. This is made up of £900 for the first five units, then three additional units at £55 each, giving £165. 

When we look at your application, we will assess your property against the standards we have set for HMOs in the Chelmsford area.

You can download our minimum and licensed amenity standards

We do not have Additional or Selective licensing schemes in place. 

Fire safety

We use the LACORS (Local Authority Coordinators or Regulatory Services) Fire Safety Guidanceto determine whether your fire safety system is suitable.

The Guidance contains case studies for shared houses, bedsits and flats according to the number of storeys in each property. You can read the case studies in Part D of the LACORS Guidance. You need to read them in conjunction with the relevant sections within Part C of the Guidance.

If you operate an HMO without a licence or don't follow the conditions of your licence, you could receive:

  • penalties of up to £30,000

  • rent repayment orders

  • banning orders

You can check our HMO Public Register to see if a property has an HMO licence.

If you think people are living in an HMO that doesn't have a licence, you can report it to us.

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Last updated: 04 October 2021

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