We are responsible for ensuring that landlords maintain standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

We have legal powers to deal with unsatisfactory conditions which do not meet the Prescribed Standards for HMOs.

How can a landlord apply for a HMO licence?

Apply online for a HMO licence

Please contact our Housing Standards Team for further details.

Licenses usually last for 5 years. 

Our Housing Standards Team must inspect the property during this time, the purpose of which will be to ensure the property is free from hazards that affect the residents and their visitors.  

We will be accepting applications for the new policy from 1st September 2018. 

New changes to HMO licensing

The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation will change on 1st October 2018.

What are the licensing changes?

The new mandatory licensing policy will mean that all current HMOs or any type of property, regardless of the amount of storeys, that;

  1. Is occupied by five persons or more
  2. Is in two or more households
  3. Has shared basic amenities

Will have to hold a licence.

How can landlords prepare for these changes?

We advise that landlords get to know our Prescribed Standards for HMOs and make sure they have the required documentation in order to make an application.

  • Landlord gas safety certificate for all appliances and installations.
  • Electrical Installation Condition Report dated within the last 5 years.
  • Fire alarm test certificate dated within the last 12 months - Please ensure that you have the correct type of alarm system for your property. LACORS have provided guidance on this, or you can contact our Housing Standards Team.
  • Emergency lighting test certificate dated within the last 12 months (if installed).
  • Portable appliance test certificate for any landlord provided electrical items.
  • A sketch plan for the property detailing the layout and position and size of each room.

We will be accepting applications for the new policy from 1st September 2018. 

More information

Are there fines for failing to licence a HMO?

Landlords who fail to apply for a licence for a HMO could;

  • Face a penalty notice of up to £30,000 or an unlimited fine from the Court.
  • Have management control of their unlicensed property taken away.
  • Be ordered to pay up to 12 months rent to their tenants.
Are there temporary exemptions from licensing?

Temporary exemptions are available if steps are being taken which mean the property will not need a licence, for example;

  • Being sold
  • Current occupation of property is about to change.

Exemptions will last for 3 months and must be applied for with;

  • A detailed explanation supporting the request
  • Evidence supporting the request.

Once the exemption expires then a valid HMO application must be made. Enforcement action will be taken if an application is not received.

What is considered illegal when owning a HMO?
HMO offences and penalties
Offence Penalty
Unlicensed HMO

Prosecution with unlimited fines.

If there are tenants then the right to evict is suspended until a licence has been obtained.

More than agreed number of people or households living in HMO property Prosecution with unlimited fines
Collecting rent from an unlicensed HMO The landlord may be required to pay back up to a years worth of rent.


What are the reasons for cancelling or changing a licence?

We may cancel or change a licence, or the licence holder may apply to have the licence cancelled or changed for the following reasons.


  • House is no longer an House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
  • Licence holder changes.
  • Any other change in circumstances
  • Where there has been a serious breach of a condition or repeated breaches.
  • Where the licence holder is no longer suitable to hold the licence
  • Where the management is no longer satisfactory.
  • Where the HMO is no longer suitable to be an HMO.


  • Following an inspection of the property there is a need to change the licence conditions
  • There is a change to the information provided on the application form
  • Where there is a change to the legislation and the standards associated with it.
Are there rules on how many people can live in a property?

The number of people who can live in a property will depend on;

  • Planning permission - Planning allows a maximum of 6 persons to share a property. Anything above that will require additional permission.
  • Facilities provided - Environmental Health will permit a maximum of 5 persons to share kitchen and bathroom facilities. 
  • Bedroom sizes

Please see our HMO standards for more information.

Does a property need a HMO licence if it's occupied by staff?

Yes- if there are 5 or more staff and the staff do not have permanent residence elsewhere.

Is a property with 3/4 people sharing considered a HMO?

Yes it is an HMO but it does not require a licence.

Please refer to Housing enforcement team should you require any advice on fire protection etc.

Please see LACORS guidance on fire safety.

Contact us

Housing Standards Team
Email: housingstandards@midsussex.gov.uk

Last updated: 17 September 2018