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
  • Register for further information on changes to HMO licensing
  • Fees & charges
Not all HMOs require a licence and licensing requirements vary between local authority areas.  However, from 1 October 2018 many more HMOs across England will require a licence.  The new requirement which applies to Colchester includes houses and flats that are:
  • Occupied by 5 or more people;
  • Who form 2 or more households (i.e. the occupiers are not all members of the same family);
  • And who share 1 or more basic amenity (i.e. kitchen, bathroom, or toilet)
From 1 October 2018 it will be illegal to operate or manage an HMO within this description without a licence.  If you have any doubts regarding the status of a building then take specialist advice and/or check the relevant law.
We are preparing for a large increase in the number of HMOs in Colchester that will require a licence.  This includes work to redesign the licence application process to improve efficiency and user-experience.  The intention is to fast track licence applications which demonstrate that HMOs are well managed to current standards whilst focussing our resources on enforcement action on those failing to licence and/or not up to standard.
To support this we are updating the Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy to make use of the full range of sanctions available including penalties of up to £30,000, rent repayment orders and banning orders.

How to prepare

Please use our licence checker tool to confirm whether or not a property will require a licence and register to receive further updates to help you to meet licensing requirements.  Essex councils are preparing new guidance on the standards that apply to HMOs.  Have your say by taking part in our online survey which runs from 22 May until 19 June.
If you require a licence now for an HMO that has 3 or more storeys and meets the description above then please contact the Private Sector Housing Team.  Please also contact the Team if you want to apply to renew or vary an existing HMO licence.
Tel: 01206 282581 option 6
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