The definition of an HMO as set out in Housing Act 2004 Opens in a new window is complex and you should seek advice if you are unsure as to whether your property meets one of the ‘Tests’. It is your responsibility to know the status of your property.

Larger HMOs, with a greater risk to the occupiers’ health and safety, must be licensed. Some other HMOs may also need to be licensed. You should familiarise yourself with the Housing Act 2004 or seek appropriate advice to make sure that you meet your obligation to hold any necessary licence. You should also make sure that you find out whether or not a discretionary licensing scheme is in operation in the area by contacting us.

It is a criminal offence to be managing or in control of a House in Multiple Occupation that should be licensed but is not.

The definition of a HMO varies for different departments. You can find out more information about when property is classed as a HMO for council tax on our landlord information page. 


  Apply for a HMO licence Opens in a new window


The cost of a five year licence is currently £890.

There is a charge of £40 to cover administration costs if you don’t submit documentation when requested.

Changes to a licence

Please tell us if you need to make a change to your HMO licence.

  Apply to change a HMO licence Opens in a new window

More information about HMO licensing

We will add conditions to licences to make sure a suitable standard of management is in place. As part of the application process, you will be able to challenge any proposed conditions.

When considering the standard of amenities at the property, we take account of the guidance used across Devon for HMS standards.

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Standards
These standards have been designed to assist landlords and developers to improve and maintain HMOs to a reasonable standard.

Planning and HMO Licensing services operate independently. Applying for or obtaining an HMO Licence does not influence the Planning Permissions of a property. You must have the correct permissions in place before you consider operating an HMO. To check what permissions you currently have please contact Planning.