HMOs and the 3 Licensing Schemes

This page has information on Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and the licensing schemes in Nottingham City.

Definition of a HMO

Nottingham City Council currently have 2 licensing schemes active within Nottingham City and are looking to introduce another in early 2018.

This means that as of 2018, most privately rented properties will require a licence.

Whether licensable or not, there are still legal requirements for all privately rented properties and it is your duty as a landlord and/ or manager to ensure that you are familiar with the appropriate legislation and licence properties as required.

The 3 Licensing Schemes

The Mandatory licensing scheme runs throughout England. This has been in place since April 2006 and will continue indefinitely (unless legislation changes).

Very generally; Mandatory licensing applies to shared houses and flats which have 3 or more stories and 5 or more occupants, from 2 or more households.

The Additional Licensing Scheme was introduced in Nottingham on 1st January 2014. This is a 5 year scheme which will most likely be renewed for an additional 5 years.

Very generally; Additional licensing applies to shared houses and flats which have 3 or more occupants, from 2 or more households.

It also applies to "converted block of flats" (a building (or part of a building) which has been converted into, and consists of, flats and self-contained flats).

The Selective Licensing Scheme is likely to be introduced to Nottingham in early 2018.

What is a House In Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

In very general terms, a HMO is:

  • A property (or part of a property) that has more than one household– see the definition for households below
  • Usually share at least one amenity – such as a kitchen, a sink or toilet
  • NOT restricted only to houses and can also include flats, whether they are shared or self-contained within a larger building



Households: a household can be one person or several people. A group of people that are related or living as a couple or family are 1 household. This includes couples, same sex couples and children including fostered and adopted and any other relatives.

NOTE: Where tenants claim to be related we expect landlords and/or managers to have taken out appropriate checks to be confident that they are related and the property is not being occupied as a HMO.

Two friends would be 2 household because they are not related.

Two families would be 2 households.


  • Three friends = 3 households
  •  A couple and a 1 friend = 2 households
  • A couple living with their parent are 1 household
  • A couple, sharing with 3 strangers who are all friends but not related would be 4 households

Click here for a more detailed definition of a HMO


See the legal Definition of a HMO as it is in the Housing Act 2004

NOTE: This does not relate to converted blocks of flats as these are covered under a different section of the Housing Act 2004 (Section 257). For information on HMO’s in relation to flats; please use the links below.

The section relating to converted blocks of flats in the Housing Act 2004 can be found here.


These apply to all HMO’s whether or not a licence is required

HMO’s are required to meet a certain set of standards whether they do or do not need a licence.

These standards include:

Managing HMO's

These apply to all HMO's whether or not a licence is required

There are management regulations in place that outline how they should be managed and maintained. Links to these can be found below:

Management regulation that relate to ALL HMO’s (licensable or not)

Management regulations that relate only to Section 257 HMO’s.

See our separate pages in relation to each licensing scheme

Nottingham City Council Space and amenity Standards and further information

Further Information

Mandatory Licensing

This runs throughout England and applies to all properties that are 3 or more stories with 5 or more occupants (from more than 1 households– see the definition of households above).

NOTE: The definition for Mandatory Licensing  will soon be changing and this means that more properties will fall under the Mandatory Licensing scheme. You should ensure that you keep yourself updated on the changes to legislation.

(Please see the document below which highlights the changes. – Document completed by the officers working on this. Link number 23 not yet currently available)

Additional Licensing

This scheme was introduced to Nottingham City on the 1st January 2014.

This scheme was introduced to raise housing and health standards in areas that were identified as being more problematic, with a higher number of complaints around property standards and/ or anti-social behaviour.

The Additional Licensing Scheme applies to any HMO (see the above definition of a HMO) that falls within the designated area. (3 or more individuals forming more than one household)

You can search My Property for an address to see if it falls within the designated area for additional licensing. http://geoserver.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/myproperty/

NOTE: if a property falls under the mandatory licensing scheme, then you will not need to check if it falls within the additional licensing area. If a property is already licensed under the Mandatory scheme, it will not need to be licensed again under the additional scheme.


Some flats are also covered under the Additional Licensing Scheme and you can find more information on this below.

This can include:

  • flats within purpose built accommodation

(where there are 3 or more occupants from 2 or more households- see the definition for households above)

  • Converted blocks of flats

The whole building could require a licence

  • Buildings with self-contained flats

Some buildings can also require more than one licence.

If one (or more) of the flats is occupied as a HMO then this will need a licence (as mentioned directly above), however, the whole building may also need a licence if:

  • it does not meet the 1991 Building Regulations (or those thereafter)
  • no more than 2/3 of the building is owner occupied

This is unless ALL of the flats within the building are licensed separately.

More information on Building Regulations can be found on the Government Website.

More information on these and the legislation that relates to them can be found here.

Selective Licensing

Nottingham City Council is considering a new scheme to improve privately rented housing in the city. This will apply to private rented properties that are singly occupied or family occupied. More information on this can be found here.

If any of this information is unclear, or you still require some advice, then you can complete and online form here and we will get back to you within a reasonable time.

If it is found that a licensable HMO is being operated where there is not current licence or pending application in place; Nottingham City Council will take the appropriate enforcement action.

More information on how the council enforces these legislations can be found here.

To report an unlicensed HMO or report a problem with your property, landlord or manager; please also complete the form above and select the correct option

Applying for a License under one of the licensing schemes

Where a property requires licence; an application should be submitted straight away and without any delay.

Failure to submit a duly made application can lead to prosecution and unlimited fines.

What will I need for my application?

Nottingham City Council require the below information to consider your HMO application as duly made:

  • Information in relation to the applicant, proposed licence holder and manager, this includes their name, address, telephone number and email address
  • All questions in relation to the fit and proper persons status completed
  • All declarations signed, printed and dated by the correct person(s)
  • Clearly labelled sketch plans; one for each floor with amenities and dimensions
  • A valid Gas safety certificate (where there are gas appliances in the property)
  • A valid Electrical Installation Condition Report
  • A valid Emergency Lighting Testing and Inspection Certificate (where emergency lighting in present in the property)
  • A Fire Alarm Testing and Inspection Certificate (where there is a zoned fire alarm with an electrical control  panel in the property)

Without all of the required information, we will not proceed with the application and it may be returned to you. We will write to the applicant/ owner to request the information before returning the application.

How much will the licensing application cost?

See below our list of fee’s for licensing (with effect from 1st December 2013).


Licence application fee


Standard fee



Standard fee

(multiple applications)


£40 discount on the second and subsequent applications, if multiple applications are made at the same time from the same proposed Licence holder and manager, as only one fit and proper check will be required.

Example: 3 applications are submitted for the same licence holder and manager.

Application 1: £910

Application 2: £870

Application 3: £870

Accredited HMO fee


£115 discount - must be accredited at the time of the application.

If accreditation is pending the discount will not apply.

NOTE: We expect the accreditation to be upheld for the duration of the licence; where it is not we will recover the £115.

Accredited HMO fee

(multiple applications)


£115 discount for accreditation PLUS

£40 discount for multiple applications (as described above).

Licence renewal fee


An application will only be considered as a renewal where the application to re-licence the property has been received before the previous licence has expired.

You cannot renew a licence that is no longer in place.

In addition to this; the licence holder should also be the same as was on the previous licence.

Licence renewal fee

(multiple applications)


£40 discount on the second and subsequent applications, if multiple applications are made at the same time from the same proposed Licence holder and manager, as only one fit and proper check will be required.

Licence renewal fee

(accredited HMO)


£100 discount for accreditation.

Licence renewal fee (accredited HMO and multiple applications)


£100 discount for accreditation PLUS

£40 discount for multiple applications (as described above).

Finder’s Fee


Where the Council has started an investigation and carried out work to identify an unlicensed HMO and bring it into the licensing regime.

This fee is not optional and will be added onto the licence application fee; the application will not be accepted without this fee where it is required.

Additional Admin costs

£30 for each occasion

Where the Council has to do more than amount of admin work that is considered within the licensing process (and coveed under the licensing fee). This includes returning applications which are not duly made and for providing copies of requested information.

Application to vary a HMO Licence


No charge

You should ensure that you apply for a variation where information changed in relation to the licence will change.

You will need to apply for a variation before making the following changes:

·         Change in occupation (increasing occupation)

·         Change in management (you could potentially change this before making us aware but there is a potential for the licence to be refused)

·         Changing the layout of the property/ rooms

The following we will also need to be made aware of:

·         Change of address for licence holder or manager

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