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        HMO licence – Apply online

        From 01 October 2018 new rules for licensing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) will come into force. Please view these here

        You will be making your application to Thanet Council via’s online licensing service.

        Please see the information below about making a change to an existing HMO licence.

        HMO information for landlords

        Mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) aims to improve the standards of management and repair within HMOs.

        HMOs can present a particular problem in the rented sector and although there are many good landlords, there are some who are unable or unwilling to manage their properties properly.

        The information here will help landlords decide if they need a licence, and explain how to get one.

        What is a House in Multiple occupation?

        An HMO is a building or part of a building which meets one of the following tests:

        A- The Standard test

        Any building in which two or more households share basic amenities. For example toilets, kitchens, and bathrooms.

        B – The Self-contained flat test

        Any flat in which two or more households share basic amenities. For example toilets, kitchens, and bathrooms.

        C – The Converted building test

        Any converted building comprised of one or more units of accommodation that are not self-contained.

        D – Certain converted blocks of flats

        Any converted building comprised of self-contained flats that does not meet the 1991 Building Regulation Standards, and less than two-thirds of the self-contained flats are owner-occupied.


        Which Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) MUST have a licence?

        If a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) fits:

        • A. The Standard Test (see above), or
        • B. The Self-contained flat test (see above), or
        • C. The Converted building test (see above)


        • It has five or more people living there, and
        • Those in occupation make up more than one household (family unit).

        The property MUST have a licence

        Licensed Properties

        For information on licensed houses in multiple occupation please contact the Private Sector Housing Team on 01843 577437 e-mail:

        See Also


        What happens if my licensing application is refused?

        If your application for a licence is refused you will be advised in writing why this has occurred.  You will also be given the opportunity to comment and put right any problems identified.

        If the problem cannot be easily rectified, it may be necessary for the property to stop being used as an House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), and either be converted to self-contained flats or use it as a normal house with one family.

        If, however, you are found to have an HMO without a licence and the property needs one, you may be prosecuted and fined up to £20,000.  If the property remains an HMO, but a licence cannot be issued, the Council must issue an Interim Management Order.

        Interim and Final Management Orders

        If an interim management order is issued the Council may take over the management of the property for up to 12 months, or until a licence can be issued.

        If after 12 months a licence still can not be granted, the Council may issue a Final Management Order. This means the Council may take over the management of the property for up to 5 years.

        The Council will assume all the responsibilities of the landlord and undertake all management and maintenance of the property. They will collect the rent and the owner will only receive what is left after the Council has recovered its costs.


        What is considered illegal when owning a house in Multiple Occupation?

        You could commit an offence if you:

        • Own a property that is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and is unlicensed. Penalty: Prosecution with unlimited fines (previously subject to a £20,000 maximum)
        • Permit more than an agreed number of people or households to live in the property. Penalty: Prosecution with unlimited fines (previously subject to a maximum of £20,000)
        • Breach any of the other conditions attached to the licence. Penalty: Prosecution with unlimited fines.

        Other penalties

        • If you collect rent for a property that does not have a licence and should have one. Penalty: A Rent Repayment Order may be issued by the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). The landlord may be required to pay back up to a year’s worth of housing benefit paid whilst the property operated without a licence. Rent repayment Orders may be applied for by the Council to recover Housing Benefit and/or by the tenants to recover any payments made.
        • If you have tenants in a property that does not have a licence, but should have. Penalty: The right to evict tenants is suspended until a licence has been obtained.

        Other points to note:

        A licence is granted for up to 5 years but it can be granted less in certain circumstances.

        The Council may revoke (cancel) a licence, or the licence holder may apply to have the licence revoked.

        Reasons for revoking a licence:

        • 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.

        The Council may vary (change) a licence or the licence holder may apply to have the licence changed for the following reasons:

        • 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.


        Any decisions made by the Council will be given to you in writing. You will be given the opportunity to appeal against any decisions made. Any appeal must be made to the Residential Property Tribunal within 28 days of the decision being made.


        How is a licence granted?

        From the information you provide in your application, the Private Sector Housing Team will make a decision as to whether a licence should be granted, or, refused.

        If a licence is granted, it will have a number of conditions attached to it. These conditions will relate to the maintenance and management of the property.

        A breach of these conditions may lead to the prosecution of the licence holder, with fines of any amount for each breach of conditions.

        • Owners and managers can hold a licence for a property. It is preferable that the licence holder is local to the property, to ensure it can be properly managed and problems are dealt with quickly.
        • The house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation
        • the proposed manager has control of the house, and is a fit and proper person to be the manager
        • the management arrangements are satisfactory

        What are the standard licence conditions?

        The following conditions must be followed by all licence holders:

        • A valid gas safety certificate must be submitted to the  Private Sector Housing Team every year
        • Electrical appliances and furniture provided in the property must be kept in a safe condition
        • The landlord must supply a declaration on the safety of all appliances and furniture used in the property
        • Smoke alarms must be installed in the house and they must be kept in proper working order at all times
        • All occupiers must be provided with a written statement of the terms by which they occupy the property e.g. a tenancy agreement

        Other conditions that may be added could include:

        • Restrictions on the use or occupation of parts of the property
        • Requirement of reasonable and practicable steps to be taken to prevent or reduce anti-social behaviour by persons occupying or visiting the house

        When a licence is granted to a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), the Private Sector Housing Team must inspect the property within 5 years.  We plan to inspect all licensed properties within a two year period.

        The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that the HMO is free from hazards that affect the health and safety of the residents and their visitors.


        What are the fees and charges for an application?

        Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004 requires the council, as the local housing authority for Thanet, to operate a mandatory licensing regime for certain types of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The mandatory scheme came into force in April 2006.

        However, the law changed in 2018. The mandatory licensing regime has, since its introduction, only applied to certain HMOs comprised of three or more storeys and occupied by five or more persons. From 01 October 2018, the exemption for one and two-storey HMOs has been removed. Therefore, all relevant HMOs occupied by five or more persons are licensable, irrespective of how many storeys there are in the building.

        Mandatory licensing of HMOs was introduced to improve physical conditions and management standards in higher risk residential accommodation.

        Section 63 of the Housing Act 2004 empowers the council to make charges for carrying out their HMO licensing functions. The council reviews these charges every year, and the charges which apply from 01 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 are set out below. A licence application will not be valid unless it is accompanied by the correct fee.

        Please note: On 19 January 2016, the council’s Cabinet decided to make a further selective licensing designation in respect of certain parts of the electoral wards of Margate Central and Cliftonville West. Full details of the scheme, including why it has been introduced, can be found in the document: Proposal to make a further selective licensing designation. This document and further information relating to selective licensing can be found on the council’s website at The new designation became operative on 21 April 2016 and will last for five years. Every residential property which is privately let to one or more tenants within the designated area must be licensed, unless it is subject to exemption. However, mandatory HMO licensing under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004 takes precedence over selective licensing. HMOs within the designated area that are not subject to mandatory HMO licensing will be subject to selective licensing.

        Standard Licence Applications

        Standard Licence Application Fees

        Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) subject to mandatory licensing under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004

        Accredited Landlords

        Non-accredited Landlords

        HMOs which contain 2 – 8 units of accommodation



        Fee for each additional unit of accommodation (In addition to the fee for HMOs which contain 2 – 8 units of accommodation)




        • HMOs defined by section 257 of the Housing Act 2004, namely buildings converted entirely into self-contained flats which fulfill certain criteria relating to tenure and conversion standards, are excluded from the mandatory licensing regime.
        • For the purposes of mandatory HMO licensing, an accredited landlord is a landlord who is fully accredited with any of the following:
          • Kent Landlord Accreditation Scheme (KLAS), which is delivered through the Accreditation & Training for Landlords & Agencs Service (ATLAS);
          • National Landlords Association Accreditation Scheme (NLA Accreditation); or
          • Residential Landlords Association Accreditation Scheme (RLAAS).

        Early Renewal Licence Applications

        Early renewal licence applications made at least six weeks before the expiry of an existing licence are subject to a reduced fee structure. However, renewal applications not made at least six weeks before the expiry of an existing licence are subject to the “Standard Licence Applications” fee structure set out above.

        Early Renewal Licence Application Fees

        (Only available to applicants who make a valid renewal licence application at least six weeks before their current licence is due to expire)

        Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) subject to mandatory licensing under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004

        Accredited Landlords

        Non-accredited Landlords

        HMOs which contain 2 – 8 units of accommodation



        Fee for each additional unit of accommodation (In addition to the fee for HMOs which contain 2 – 8 units of accommodation)



        Withdrawal of licence application

        Fees are non-refundable.  If you make an HMO licence application and then decide to withdraw it at a later date, no part of the licence fee paid is refundable.

        Applications to vary a licence

        If you want to change the terms of an HMO licence after it has been issued, you will need to make an application to vary the licence. There is no charge for making an application to vary a licence.

        Have you moved?

        If you or your named manager change address after the licence has been issued, you must notify the council. This is a legal requirement: you will breach the terms of your licence if you don’t tell us. There is no charge for changes of address.

        Non-transferability of licences

        All licences are non-transferable (see section 68(6) of the Housing Act 2004). As such, no licence can be varied to change the licence holder. If the licence holder is to be changed, a wholly new licence application must be made and the appropriate licence fee paid.

        Early revocation

        If the council agrees to the early revocation of an HMO licence, no pro-rata rebate of the licence application fee is refundable.

        Help and advice

        If  you would like help with any aspect of the application process, the Private Sector Housing Team will be able to assist you.  Please ring us on 01843 577437 and one of our officers will be happy to help.  We can also be contacted by email on:  Alternatively, you can write to us at: Private Sector Housing, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent CT9 1XZ.


        Other ways to apply

        • You should contact the Private Sector Housing Team at Thanet District Council if you think your property needs a licence. They can offer advice and send you an application form and information pack.
        • download the application pack PDF, (2.48mb)

        The application form will contain notes to help you complete it. It also asks you to provide certain information, which you must include with your application form.

        The application form and all supporting documents must be returned to the Private Sector Housing Team.

        If you are having problems with obtaining the information required, please contact the team immediately to advise them that your application may be delayed.

        Please be aware that unnecessary delays in making an application may lead to the Council instigating prosecution proceedings, which could lead to fines of any amount.

        Your application will only be processed if it is complete and all necessary documentation has been provided. You will be advised if any information is missing.


        Tell us about a change

        Please use the following link to tell us about a change to your existing HMO licence. This will take you to the online application service.


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