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Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing


  • What is a licensable HMO from 1 October 2018
  • How to check whether your property will require a licence
  • Fees & charges

HMOs that require a licence

Not all HMOs require a licence and licensing requirements vary between local authority areas.

From 1 October 2018 many more HMOs across England require a licence.

In Colchester this includes houses and flats that are:

  • occupied by 5 or more people
  • who form 2 or more households (the occupiers are not all members of the same family)
  • and who generally share 1 more basic amenity (such as the kitchen, bathroom, or toilet)

However, there are some exceptions to this.

Use the licence checker tool to check whether the licensing requirements apply to your property.

HMO licence checker tool

According to the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 it is an offence to operate or manage an HMO without a licence.

Private Sector Housing and Enforcement Policy

Our Private Sector Housing and Enforcement Policy, available below in the related documents section, details our enforcement approach, including specifically how we will enforce in relation to this offence.

How to prepare

The application process requires you to submit supporting documents in electronic format and to pay an initial application fee.

Read our earlier published guidance to ensure that you have the supporting documents that you will need when you apply.

How to apply

Please apply using the online application form.

Apply here

To submit your supporting documents, email them to with the address of the licensable property in the subject line of your email.

On receipt of your application, we will be in touch to request your initial application payment.

Your application is incomplete until the supporting documents have been submitted and the initial payment has been made.

If you require any assistance or have any questions regarding the application form or process, email

How to apply to renew an existing HMO licence

If you already hold an HMO Licence and the licence is due to expire, it is your responsibility to apply to renew that licence before the current licence expires.

A renewal application can only be made whilst a current licence is in force and if the proposed new licence holder is the same as the current licence holder.

A full renewal application, including the submission of all appropriate supporting documentation and first stage payment fee must be made before the expiry of a current licence. If this is not received before the current licence expires, a full New licence application, which requires the payment of the full New licence fee, will be required.

To apply to renew your HMO Licence, email with the address of the licensable property in the subject line of your email and the appropriate form will be emailed to you within 5 working days.

Give yourself adequate time to receive and complete the form, collate the required supporting documentation and to submit your renewal application and make payment before your current licence expires.

Landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities in the private rented sector

The Government has been produced guidance to help both landlords and tenants. It sets out the roles and responsibilities of both parties when letting or renting a property in the private rented sector.

Guidance: Landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities in the private rented sector


Telephone: 01206 282581 - option 6