House in Multiple Occupation – Licensing

When a licence is required

Not all HMOs require a licence and licensing requirements vary between local authority areas. The licensing requirements are set out in the  Housing Act 2004 and in the Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007.

In Colchester we operate a mandatory licensing scheme only and 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 or more basic amenity (such as the kitchen, bathroom, or toilet)

There are some exceptions to this. Use the licence checker tool to check whether the licensing requirements apply to your property.

Check licensing requirements

Our enforcement policy

It is an offence to operate or manage a licensable HMO without a licence.

Our enforcement approach, including specifically how we will enforce in relation to this offence, is detailed in our Private Sector Housing and Enforcement Policy.

We do not operate additional or selective HMO licensing and there are no Article 4 directions relating to HMOs within the City.

How to apply for a new HMO licence

Applications for new HMO licences can only be accepted through our online application form. You will need to register for an account in Assure to enable you to access the application form.

You will need to include supporting documents and a floor plan with your licence application that meet the requirements set out in this guidance. If you are unable to prepare a suitable floor plan, we offer a paid for service to do this for you. For more information see Paid advice service for landlords.

Apply for a new HMO licence

If you have already part completed an application form.

Return to incomplete HMO licence application

How to apply to renew or vary an existing HMO licence

If you already hold an HMO licence and need to renew or vary it, email and the appropriate application form will be sent to you.

Completed renewal applications need to be received by us before the current licence expires.

Fees and Charges

The Fees and Charges that apply to HMO licensing

Public Register of HMO licences

A redacted copy of the Public Register of HMO licences can be accessed online

View the Public Register (HMO Licence Mandatory)

If you wish to see the full Public Register of HMO Licences, please submit a Freedom of Information request enquiry here.

Page last reviewed: 3 January 2024


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