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Licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

Last updated 25 February 2015

Licensing for non-mandatory houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

The Council is bringing in a Private Rented Property licencing scheme for all private rented properties in the borough. This will also cover all non-mandatory HMOs.

More information on the Private Rented Property Licence

If you have any questions then please contact Customer Services on 020 8496 3000.

Licensing for 3 storey houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

If you rent out a property as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) in  Waltham Forest that has three storeys or more and has at least five occupiers you may require a licence from us.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are premises in which tenants share parts of the accommodation (kitchens, bathrooms, toilets or simply the hallway or stairs) with people who are not part of the same household.

Eligibility criteria

  • Applications must be made to Waltham Forest Council
  • You must be a fit and proper person to hold the licence


The Housing Act 2004 requires landlords of certain types of houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) to be licensed by the Local Authority.

As part of the Housing Act 2004 legislation, mandatory licensing has been introduced for all houses in multiple occupation that are:

  • Of three storeys or more (even if the lower storeys are used for industrial/commercial use i.e. a shop)
  • With five or more tenants (including children)
  • Belonging to two or more households

For more information on mandatory HMO licensing and to identify whether you have a property that needs licensing visit:

See a summary of the regulation relating to this licence on the Communities and Local Government website, by clicking on the link:

Application process

Please provide all the information requested or we will be unable to accept and process your application and it will be rejected.

Licences will be granted if:

  • The house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation
  • The applicant is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • The proposed manager has control of the house, and is a fit and proper person to be the manager
  • The management arrangements are satisfactory

We will aim to grant or refuse the licence within 12 weeks.

How the licensing process works

  • Send out acknowledgement letter stating that we will aim to grant or refuse the licence within 12 weeks
  • A memo is sent to relevant departments to request any information they have in relation to the applicant, to determine whether the person is 'fit and proper'
  • An officer will contact the landlord/manager and arrange an inspection. The property is then inspected. The plans are drawn up, which are then consulted with the Fire Authority. A schedule of works is prepared. The number of occupants permitted to occupy the HMO is calculated. (This is dependant on how many amenities there are i.e. bathrooms, kitchens)
  • Letters of proposal to grant or refuse the licence, notices, schedule of occupation, conditions, plans, schedule of works, are sent to the applicant and all interested parties i.e. Mortgagees, freeholders. They are given two weeks to make any representations. In relation to the schedule of works, a time scale is given to complete the works by
  • If no representations are made and the two weeks are up, then the decision to grant or refuse the licence is made. Letters, notices and the actual licence is sent out to the applicant and all interested persons
  • The licence is issued for a five year period. (Sometimes this can be less)
  • The property will be inspected to check if the works requested under the conditions of the licence have been carried out and to check if the there are any management issues
  • We will request that the landlord becomes accredited within two years of the date of the licence
  • We will continue to ask for certificates when they are due: gas safe, automatic detection system, electrical, emergency lighting and water extinguishers
  • The information is entered onto our database and recorded in a public register, which is available on our website

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that Waltham Forest Council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within ten working days contact us online if you applied through the UK welcome business website or use the contact details below:

Phone 020 8496 3000


The fee is £930 per HMO up to  6 units of accommodation. For every unit above this, the cost will be £88 per unit. For those landlords that are accredited, the fee is reduced to £682 per HMO up to 6 units and £88 per unit after that. For re-application (a renewal) the fee is £388.

Apply online

Apply for a house in multiple occupancy licence.

Apply to change your existing house in multiple occupancy licence.

Or alternatively:

  • Download and print out the application form and guidance notes below
  • Or email
  • Or Tel on 020 8496 3000
  • Or write to the Housing Standards Team, London Borough of Waltham Forest, Environment & Regeneration, Sycamore House, Town Hall Complex, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17 4JF


Appeal process

Failed application

Please contact Waltham Forest Direct and ask for the HMO team.

You may appeal to a residential property tribunal.

Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Licence holder redress

Please contact Waltham Forest Direct and ask for the HMO team in the first instance.

You may appeal to a residential property tribunal regarding conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or revoke a licence.

Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Public complaint

If a licence is granted and as a member of the public you wish to appeal against it being granted, you may do so to a residential property tribunal within 28 days of the decision being made.

Please contact Waltham Forest Direct and ask for the Housing Standards team in the first instance for matters concerning noise, pollution or public health.

More on how to complain about Council services.

eugo portal .

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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