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Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

Apply for an HMO licence

You can apply online, paying with credit or debit card:

Apply online for a house in multiple occupation licence

You can also request an application pack by contacting Private Sector Housing or you can download an application form.

Guidance notes [pdf]  are available to assist in completing the application form [pdf] .  Payment of the fee for all applications is part of the application process and an application is not considered to have been made until the fee is paid.

The council's fee for licensing has been determined in accordance with the toolkit guidance issued by government and amounts to £420 per property.

Landlords who are accredited under the Cheshire Landlord Accreditation Scheme are entitled to 10% reduction in fees – currently £378.

The licence fee for registered charities is 50% of the full fee - currently £210.

Payment by annual instalments is available, subject to a 20% surcharge to cover administrative costs incurred by the council. (Please note that in such cases, the full balance is liable if the property is sold during the 5 year licence period). Licences are not transferable.

The council can refuse an HMO licence if the property doesn’t meet the licence conditions or the landlord or manager is not a “fit and proper [pdf]” person (download further information about HMO licensing [pdf] for details)

Landlords can appeal if the council decides to:

  • Refuse a licence
  • Grant a licence with conditions
  • Revoke a licence
  • Vary a licence
  • Refuse to vary a licence

Appeals are made to the First-tier tribunal - Property Chamber (Residential Property) in Manchester, normally within 28 days.

The council must maintain a public register [pdf] of HMOs that are licensed which is available to view on this website. Non licensable HMOs are not required to be on this register.

Failure to licence a licensable HMO is a criminal offence, liable of a fine of up to £20,000. In addition, a tenant living in a property that should have been licensed, but was not, can apply to the First-tier tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order to claim back any rent that they paid during the unlicensed period (up to 12 months). Councils can also reclaim any housing benefit that has been during the time the property was without a licence.

If a landlord, or person having control of a property, intends to stop operating it as an HMO or reduces the numbers of occupants and can give clear evidence of this, then they can apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice.

This can last for up to three months and ensures that a property in the process of being converted from an HMO does not need to be licensed.

If the situation is not resolved, then a second Temporary Exemption Notice can be issued. When this runs out, the property must be licensed, become subject to an Interim or Final Management Order [pdf] or cease to operate as an HMO.