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Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

The definition of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) under the Housing Act 2004 is a building or part of a building (e.g. a flat) which has:

  • more than one household residing as their only or main residence and who share one or more amenities e.g. kitchen or bathroom/shower room/toilet
  • self-contained flats – Section 257 of the Act applies to an HMO that is a converted block of flats, where the conversion to flats was completed before 1 June 1992 and where less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied
  • an individual flat occupied by more than one household who share one or more amenities

How storeys and households are counted

If you rent rooms or flats within a property to at least three tenants who form more than one household, then it’s likely to be a HMO. 

How storeys are counted in HMOs

A basement counts as a storey if:

  • it is used for living accommodation
  • it has been adapted for living accommodation (might be unoccupied)
  • it is being used as an important part of the HMO
  • it is the main entrance from the street into the HMO

A loft counts as a storey if:

  • it is used for living accommodation
  • it has been adapted for living accommodation (might be unoccupied)
  • it is being used as a part of the HMO
  • it has living accommodation situated above or below a business premises

All floors that a business premises occupies will be counted as one storey.

A mezzanine floor counts as a storey if:

  • it is used for living accommodation
  • it is used as part of the rest of the HMO in a major way

A mezzanine floor won’t be counted as a storey if it is only used as access between two floors.

How one household is counted

A household can be:

  • a single person
  • relatives who are living together, including step-children and foster children
  • people who are married or living together

For more information about HMO standards, email hmolicensing@enfield.gov.uk or contact Housing Enforcement on 020 8379 1000.

Licence application process

It’s a legal requirement under the Housing Act for certain HMOs to have a licence. Either the owner or the manager should make the application.

Tacit Consent does not apply to this licence application. It is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted.

Applicants must be considered to be a fit and proper person. A fit and proper person is someone who hasn’t committed fraud, violence, drug offences, or sexual offences. There must also be no evidence against them of unlawful discrimination in business, violating housing law or breaching codes of practice. Spouses or close associates of proposed licence holders should also not have committed any of these offences.

An HMO requires a mandatory licence if:

  • five or more people live in the property
  • these people form more than one household
  • these people share facilities, such as a bathroom, kitchen or toilet

Some HMOs which fall outside of the above definitions don’t require a licence. However, they need to comply with the relevant legislation. This includes providing amenities appropriate for the number of residents. As a general rule, this is one bathroom and kitchen for every five people.

How to apply

To apply, complete our HMO licence application form (PDF) using the HMO guidance notes (PDF) and either email hmolicensing@enfield.gov.uk or post it to:

HMO Licensing
Private Sector Housing Standards
Enfield Council 
Civic Centre

How long the licence application takes to process

We aim to process licence applications within 42 working days on receipt of a valid application. This timescale may increase during periods we receive a high volume of applications.

A valid application must include a completed application form, all relevant certificates and the correct licensing fee. We will carry out relevant checks and an inspection of the property.

The decision will then be made whether to grant or refuse a licence.

The application process may vary depending on the circumstances of each property or the volume of applications we have received. As long as a landlord has submitted a valid application, the HMO can continue to operate legally until we reach a decision and any appeals against that decision are completed.

How to pay for the licence

You will need to enter the information below when making a payment online:

  • Payment amount for a mandatory HMO licence with up to five lettable rooms = £1,100.00 plus £125.00 per additional lettable room thereafter
  • All information relating to your payment = HMO address and reference number HG0163 67703
  • Description of payment = HMO fee

You can also pay by cheque, made payable to London Borough of Enfield. The payment must be attached to your application and posted to the address below. A receipt for the payment can be sent to you on request.

What you can do about the licence decision

If a licence is refused and you want to appeal against this decision, you can contact the First-Tier Tribunal Service within 28 days on 020 7446 7700 or visit Residential Property Tribunal.

HMO licence register

You can view the restricted register by visiting HMO License Register.

We can send you a copy of the full version of the register for a fee of £123.20, or you can view it for free by visiting our main offices during the opening hours. If you wish to request a copy or make an appointment to view the register, email hmolicensing@enfield.gov.uk.

Renewing an HMO licence

You will need to send us a valid application at least one month before expiry of the current licence, to allow time for checks to be made and an inspection to be carried out.

To apply, complete an HMO renewal form (PDF) and email hmolicensing@enfield.gov.uk or post it to:

HMO Licensing
Private Sector Housing Standards
Enfield Council
Civic Centre

Variation of an HMO licence

You can request to make changes to an existing licence, such as a change of: 

  • agent/company managing the house
  • address for the landlord
  • occupancy level in the house

Safety inspections

HMOs are inspected for disrepair, inadequate facilities, fire safety, general mismanagement and overcrowding, and to ensure they meet minimum standards. We use the Housing Health and Safety Ratings System (HHSRS) to identify and rate hazards that are found. This is to ensure properties in Enfield are safe to live in.

Standards for an HMO

There are minimum standards (PDF) that apply to HMOs. These standards are used by us to determine the maximum number of occupiers and households permitted to occupy the property.

Fire detection and a protected escape route are also required. We work jointly with the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LF&EPA) to identify fire hazards in HMOs and share information. We will inform and advise landlords, agents and owners on how to comply with Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS). Where necessary, we will carry out a joint inspection at the premises with the LF&EPA.


We work closely with landlords and agents to improve housing conditions. If we have to take enforcement action, the following charges will apply:

Section 49 & 50 of Housing Act 2004 gives us the power to make a charge to recover certain reasonable expenses incurred in serving formal notices. A charge will normally be made where it has been necessary to take one of these enforcement actions:

  • serving an improvement notice under section 11 or 12
  • making a prohibition order under section 20 or 21
  • serving a hazard awareness notice under section 28 or 29
  • taking emergency remedial action under section 40
  • making an emergency prohibition order under section 43
  • making a demolition order under section 46
  • reviewing a suspended improvement notice under section 17
  • reviewing a suspended prohibition order under section 26

If we decide to take formal action to deal with hazards, the following standard fees may apply:

Type Fee
Hazard awareness notice (if subsequent notice is required)
Improvement notice
Prohibition order
Emergency prohibition order
Emergency remedial action
Demolition order
Review of suspended improvement notice
Review of suspended prohibition order
Charge for any subsequent notice served at the same time for the same property

The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006

This regulation imposes duties on managers of HMOs to maintain, repair and keep the property and its facilities in good order.

Managers should:

  • provide occupiers with contact information
  • maintain all fire safety measures
  • protect occupiers from injury
  • maintain water, drainage, gas and electricity supplies
  • maintain common parts and installations
  • ensure properties are clean and fit at the time of letting and maintained
  • provide rubbish disposal facilities

If any contravention(s) to the regulations are identified in the property, you will be provided with a schedule of works detailing the regulation, the contravention and the work needed to remedy it within a set timescale. If it is not completed, you risk prosecution by the council. If you’re found guilty of an offence, you will be liable to a fine.

For more information, contact our Housing Enforcement team on 020 8379 1000 or visit:

Household rubbish and recycling

The landlord must:

  • provide tenants with enough rubbish and recycling bins for the number of occupants, and make sure recycling can be separated
  • include rubbish and recycling bins in the tenancy agreement inventory
  • put clear signage on or near the bins to show how to separate rubbish and recycling
  • keep gardens, outbuildings and other external areas free from rubbish and fly-tipping
  • carry out regular checks to ensure tenants are complying with their responsibilities to separate, store and put rubbish and recycling out for collection on the correct day
  • make sure we can access bins on collection day (this may mean providing an access key or code if bins are kept locked)
  • give written information to tenants at the start of their tenancy to make sure they understand their responsibilities for the correct storage and disposal of household rubbish and recycling. This information should include how to:
    • separate and store household rubbish and recycling and put out for collection
    • dispose of bulky household items
    • access to communal rubbish and recycling bins in secure areas

The licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) will change on 1 October 2018, when the extension of HMO mandatory licensing is introduced.

A change in the law means that a licensable HMO will now be defined as:

  • a property occupied by five or more people forming two or more separate households, or
  • purpose built flats which are occupied by five or more people in two or more separate households

The individual HMO is required to be licensed, not the building the HMO is situated in. This means that where a building has two flats and each is occupied by five people living in two or more households, each flat must have a separate HMO licence.

If you currently have an HMO mandatory licence, you don’t have to take any action until your licence is due to be renewed. The HMO standards (PDF) will be applied on renewal.