Generic filters

Apply for or renew a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licence

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property which is occupied by three or more people forming two or more households, where facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms are normally shared. It includes bedsits, shared houses and some self-contained flats.

Previously a HMO that had 5 or more households with three storeys or more require a mandatory licence. From 1 October 2018 mandatory HMO licensing changed and mandatory licensing is no longer limited to HMOs that are three or more storeys high occupied by 5 or more people sharing an amenity, but now also includes buildings with one or two storeys. This new legislation now applies to landlords across the UK.

What buildings will be included?

  • Properties with 5 or more people who form two or more households. This includes both shared houses and bedsits where occupants share amenities. The property must be their main residence.
  • Flats that are occupied by 5 or more people who form two or more households that are within blocks of non-purpose built flats. This will include flats above and below commercial premises and flats in converted buildings, and other flats as described in the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018.
  • A converted building which contains more than one unit of living accommodation but at least one of the units is not contained behind its entrance door. For example where someone has to cross the common stairway to access a facility such as a toilet.

Mandatory HMO Licensing Fees 2022

HMO license fees must be levied in 2 parts:

Part 1: Application Fee (payable at the time of submitting an application) – This element of the fee will cover the costs incurred by the council to process the application up to the point of the decision being made to issue or refuse the licence. This fee is non-refundable (see below refund policy).

Part 2: Licence Issue Fee (payable within 14 days following receipt of the ‘Notice of Intention to Grant a License’) – This element of the fee covers the costs of issuing the licence, as well as operating and enforcing the HMO licensing scheme. Failure to make this payment will leave the property unlicensed and likely to result in enforcement action. This licence fee is not required if the licence application is refused. Please note: once a full license is issued this fee is non-refundable, even if the license is later revoked (see below refund policy).

HMO licence fee payment can be made using any of the following methods:

  • by cheque: please make cheques payable to Portsmouth City Council, and send to: Private Sector Housing, Portsmouth City Council, Civic offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AZ
  • by phone: call 02392 841659 during office hours
  • online: visit the payments portal and choose ‘miscellaneous’, then ‘licensing’. (Due to the way receipts are received, please add the addresses of the HMO properties the payment relates to in the message box at the bottom of the form.)

Applications without Part 1 payment will be deemed incomplete and will not be processed.

Once an application has been processed a draft licence will be sent to the applicant for comment, along with a request for the Part 2 payment. The final licence will only be issued following receipt of this payment. Failure to pay will result in the License not being granted leaving the property unlicensed. Unlicensed properties are liable to legal enforcement action.

Please note that if a payment is made for the incorrect number of people or upon inspection it is found that the number of occupants that can be accommodated is fewer than the number applied for no refund will be payable. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the property conforms to Portsmouth City Council’s HMO Standards and does not exceed the maximum number of allowable occupants.

Please contact Portsmouth City Council’s Private Sector Housing Team on 023 9243 7914 for further information regarding HMO licensing.

wdt_IDMandatory HMO Licence Number of OccupantsALL Licenses Part 1 FeeNEW license Application Part 2 FeeRENEWAL of License Part 2 Fee
15 persons sharing£192£948£888
26 persons sharing£192£998£938
37 persons sharing£192£1,048£988
48 persons sharing£192£1,098£1,038
59 persons sharing£192£1,148£1,088
610 persons sharing£192£1,198£1,138
711 persons sharing£192£1,248£1,188
812 persons sharing£192£1,298£1,238
913 + persons sharing£192£1,348£1,288

Licence fees may be reviewed periodically to ensure they reflect the full cost of administering the licensing service.

The fee structure is based on the number of occupants regardless of property type (i.e. shared houses, bedsit-type shared houses or bedsits).

Refunds Policy

A refund will be given if:

  • You have made a duplicate application
  • You made an application for an exempted property by mistake
  • You made an application for a property which is not licensable under Portsmouth HMO licensing schemes

A refund will not be given if:

  • You withdraw your application at any stage
  • We refuse your application
  • We revoke (take away) your licence
  • You are subsequently refused planning permission for your HMO
  • Your property ceases to be let as an HMO during the term of the licence (including if you sell your HMO during the term of the license).

How to apply for a mandatory HMO licence

If you need a new mandatory licence, either:

Make your payment either:

  • by cheque: please make cheques payable to Portsmouth City Council, and send to: Private Sector Housing, Portsmouth City Council, Civic offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AZ.
  • by phone: call 02392 841659 during office hours.
  • online: visit the payments portal and choose ‘miscellaneous’, then ‘licensing’. (Due to the way receipts are received, please add the addresses of the HMO properties the payment relates to in the message box at the bottom of the form.)

Please note:

Floor plans – please ensure you label the bedrooms (for example ‘bedroom 1’ and ‘bedroom 2’) with sizes in m2 (square meters), and that the rooms correspond with the application form. All other rooms including kitchens, communal areas, bathrooms, ensuites and separate toilets should also be clearly labelled along with the correct dimensions.

Please ensure documents are in date at the time of the application and have not expired

Please show the location and details of the fire precautions such as fire alarms/smoke detectors etc.

Required documents

  1. A current certificate certifying the safety of the landlord’s gas appliances and installations (if present).
  2. A current certificate of service demonstrating the proper operation of the emergency lighting system (if present).
  3. A satisfactory Electrical installation Condition Report or similar
  4. A current certificate of service demonstrating the proper operation of the fire alarm system(s)
  5. A current PAT certificate (electrical appliance safety certificate) for appliances provided by the landlord (if required).
  6. A current fire risk assessment.

Further information

Should you require any further information please contact or call 023 9284 1659.

We are required by law to provide certain information on a public register. This includes:

  • The name, address and contact details of the Licence Holder and Managing Agent.
  • Details of the maximum number of persons the licence is granted for.
  • Details of the property such as number of storeys and the amenities the property has.

HMO standards

Please refer to the Private Sector Housing Space & Amenity Standards for requirements.

Waste Disposal

All licences now issued will include a condition requiring compliance with the council’s storage and waste disposal scheme. The scheme for Portsmouth City Council is that rubbish and recycling bins/boxes/bags must be presented at the front boundary by 7.00am on the day of collection (and not before 7.00pm the day before) and bins/ boxes taken back inside the property boundary on the same day. If a licence holder does not comply with this scheme it will be a breach of the licence and is a criminal offence.

Landlords or managers should abide by certain standards applicable to HMOs. For example, a manager has a duty to ensure the property is maintained in a good condition, that the water, gas and electricity supplies are maintained, the common areas are kept clean and in good repair, the living accommodation is maintained and arrangements are made for the storage of refuse. Residents are also required not to hamper or frustrate the manager from carrying out these responsibilities.


Failure to apply for a licence is an offence under section 72 of the housing act 2004, which upon summary conviction may render a person liable to an unlimited fine.

An application may also be made to the residential property service for a rent repayment order. Should an order be made there may be a requirement to repay housing benefit paid to an occupier of the house in multiple occupation while the property was unlicensed.

A person may also be liable to a civil penalty under Section 249A of up to £30,000.