Skip to content

House in multiple occupancy (HMO) licence

If you rent out a property for a house in multiple occupancy (HMO), you may need to apply for a licence from Lichfield District Council (your local housing authority). 

Back To Top

Do I need a licence?

From 1 October 2018, HMO licensing is changing. If you are the owner or manager of a house in multiple occupation (HMO), you will need a licence from the council if there are five or more people living in the property, who form two or more households, and they share facilities such as a bathroom, kitchen, sink or toilet.

Licences cannot be transferred to another property or to a different person. If circumstances change, a new licence would be needed.

Back To Top

What if I don't get a licence by 1 October 2018?

It is an offence not to licence an HMO where a licence is needed. The penalty for not licensing a HMO can be an unlimited fine and the previous year’s rent can be re-claimed by any tenant (or the council where housing benefit is paid). This is called a rent repayment order. Alternatively, you could receive a civil/financial penalty of up to £30,000 per offence.

Licence applications must be made to the council. A fee will be charged for a five-year licence.

Back To Top

Licenses will be granted if:

  • All people with an interest do not object to the licence (i.e. owner, mortgage company, etc).
  • The house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation.
  • The applicant is a fit and proper person (i.e. no relevant convictions) and the most appropriate person to hold the licence and he/she lives in the UK.
  • The proposed manager has control of the house, and is a fit and proper person to be the manager and lives in the UK.
  • The management arrangements are satisfactory.

Conditions can be attached to a licence and the property will be inspected by the council during the licence period.

Back To Top

Are there any exceptions to the licence requirements?

There are some exceptions to the licence requirements for properties owned or managed by public services such as the police, fire service or NHS (a nursing home is not a HMO). Other exceptions include properties owned or managed by a church or owned and managed by an educational institution for the occupation of its students only.

If you intend to stop renting a property or to reduce the number of occupants, then you may apply for a temporary exemption notice that lasts for a maximum of three months (instead of a full licence). You may apply for a secondary notice after this period, however, if the issue is still not resolved after this notice runs out then the property must be licensed or become subject to an interim management order.  

Find out more by contacting our private sector housing team on 01543 308714 or email

Back To Top

How do I apply for a licence?

It will cost £565 for up to five bedrooms and an extra £55 per bedroom up to a maximum of up to £4,500 for a five-year HMO licence. You can pay by cheque made out to Lichfield District Council with code 0532 written on the reverse, or card payment over the telephone quoting the cost code HC.

You can download an application form and site plan online or request a paper copy to be sent to you by calling the team. 

It is the owner’s responsibility to apply for a licence and to wait for its approval before letting out the property to five or more people who form more than one family.

Failure to apply for a licence could result in a fixed penalty notice (fine) of up to £30,000.

Back To Top

Can I get a refund on a licence?

We do not normally refund licence fees as the fees cover our processing costs. We will only consider a refund in exceptional circumstances.

Back To Top

Can I appeal against conditions or refusal to issue/vary a licence?

If you have an issue, please contact our private sector housing team on 01543 308714 or email

During the licensing process, you can contact us regarding any changes you feel should be made. We will then consider and produce what we believe to be the final licence document. There will be an extra 28-day period where you can appeal to the first-tier tribunal (property chamber) regarding conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or revoke a licence. 

What if I am worried about how an HMO is being managed?

If you are concerned about the condition of a property contact the private sector housing team on 01543 308714 or email

Back To Top

Extra information

To find out more, you can download the guidance for local authorities from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.

Back To Top

Trade association

National Landlords Association

Residential Landlords Association

Shelter - advice for tenants and anyone who is homeless or may become homeless

Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme

Services A - ZSee all services
Get in touch or visit...

Our location and travel details >>

Phone our contact centre: 01543 308 000
District Council House, Frog Lane, Lichfield, Staffs, WS13 6YY

If you need to contact a team direct, please visit our contacts page for team phone numbers and email addresses.

Opening times

Our main reception at Frog Lane in Lichfield is open Monday - Friday, 8.45am - 5.15pm. Our phone lines close at 5pm.