HMO licensing consultation

Have your say on our landlord licensing scheme

We want to know what you think about our proposals to renew our additional HMO licensing scheme.

Take part in our survey

Before completing our survey, we recommend, as a minimum, that you read our proposal summary below. You may also wish to read all the supplementary information for a full understanding of why we think the scheme is a good idea for Camden and how we propose the scheme would continue to operate in practice.


In 2015 we introduced a borough wide additional licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). HMOs are shared homes, including house and flat shares, student homes, bedsits and some buildings converted into flats.

Our licensing scheme has helped improve the quality and safety of homes for people living in the private rented sector. So far we have received over 4,300 licence applications, licensed over 3,100 properties and carried out 3,500 inspections.

Renewing the scheme will make sure we continue to make homes in Camden safe, warm and secure as set out in our Camden Plan. We will also be able to continue to tackle rogue landlords who own or rent an HMO without a licence.

In addition we are seeking initial views on whether a selective licensing scheme should be introduced in the future to license all private rented accommodation, not only HMOs. This could be in the whole or only part of the borough. The Council will consider this possibility further when the consultation is finished and we have looked at the available evidence. This is not a statutory consultation on selective licensing. Further information on selective licensing can be found here

A decision in relation to the commencement of this formal consultation was made at a Cabinet meeting on 13 November 2019. Details of this meeting can be found here

Who are we consulting with?

We want to hear from all residents, tenants, landlords, letting or managing agents, businesses and advice providers in Camden and neighbouring boroughs of Barnet, Brent, City of London, Haringey, Islington and Westminster.

When is it taking place?

The consultation will be open for a period of 12 weeks, starting on 16 December and ending on Sunday 8 March 2019.

How can I find out more?

To find out more contact the HMO licensing team on 020 7974 5969 or email

Drop-in sessions

We will also be holding the following drop in sessions at libraries around Camden.

 Swiss Cottage Library  Thursday 9 January 2020, 10am-12:30pm
 West Hampstead Library  Thursday 16 January 2020, 3pm-5pm
 Kentish Town Library  Friday 17 January 2020, 10am-12:30pm
 Pancras Square Library  Wednesday 22 January 2020, 5pm-7.30pm
 Holborn Library  Wednesday 29 January 2020, 3pm-5pm

For details of how to find the libraries, please click here.

Supplementary information

Summary of proposals for renewal of HMO licensing

Properties that require an HMO licence

Additional HMO licensing review

Proposal for a reduced term licence

Proposed fees

Proposed changes to HMO standards

Privacy Notice



HMO licences

The Housing Act 2004 defines houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). HMOs include house and flat shares, student homes, bedsits and some buildings converted into flats. For properties that contain occupiers that form 2 or more households and share amenities such as kitchen, bathroom, living area and any communal space require a HMO licence. The tenancy agreement is not relevant in determining if a house is a HMO, nor is the number of storeys.

An HMO requires a licence and a landlord commits an offence by letting a HMO without a licence.

What is a HMO? (PDF)

Landlords must hold either a mandatory or additional licence if they are operating an HMO in Camden. 

Mandatory licensing: 

The definition of a mandatory licensable HMO changed on 1 October 2018. The requirement applies to most properties occupied by 5 or more people forming 2 or more households, regardless of the number of storeys. 

The only exemption is for HMOs which are flats located in purpose built blocks containing 3 or more flats. 

Please note: If you have a HMO that meets this criteria and you already hold an additional HMO licence you do not need to do anything until that licence expires. Upon renewal, you will need to re-apply for a mandatory licence.

Additional licensing:

This is a local scheme to Camden which came into force on 8 December 2015. 

Additional licensing applies to other HMOs not covered by mandatory licensing. It applies to any property occupied by 3 or more people forming  2 or more households. 

It also applies to buildings converted into self-contained flats that do not meet the standards of the Building Regulations 1991 (or later) and 50 percent or more of the building is rented.

Properties that require an HMO licence (PDF)

Please note: Applications received for properties with zero tenants may be returned. This is because the Housing Act 2004 makes it clear that a house cannot be a HMO (and therefore licensable) until it is occupied by persons as their residence. For this reason, an application should be made as soon as a property is rented out as a licensable HMO



Apply for a HMO licence

Please read the following documents before you apply. They explain what information and documentation you must submit with your application.

Apply for a HMO licence

The application will take around 45 minutes to complete.

After you’ve applied

What happens next?

Once granted, a licence will normally last for 5 years.

NB: An HMO licence sits with the current landlord and cannot be transferred to another person. If the property is sold or the landlord changes the council must be informed. The new landlord must apply for a new HMO licence.

Help with your application

If you need help filling in the form, book an appointment to come and see us by calling 020 7974 5969.

We are based at the council offices at 5 Pancras Square, 5 Pancras Rd, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AG.

Temporary Exemption Notices for HMOs

If your property is a licensable HMO you must apply for a licence.

However, if you intend to make changes to the property so it ceases to be licensable you can apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN). Where a TEN is served, it will allow you to operate without a licence for three months while you are making the changes to remove the property from the requirement to license.
To qualify for a TEN, you must show that you are taking actual steps to ensure the property will no longer need a licence. We will ask to see evidence to support your application. This could be by you providing supporting documents or other information confirming the action being taken. We may also carry out additional checks, including with other agencies as appropriate.

NOTE: You cannot apply for a TEN to avoid being licensed.

It is a criminal offence to manage or be in control of an unlicensed property.
It is also an offence to provide false or misleading information to obtain a TEN.

We can refuse or revoke your TEN and take other appropriate action if you:
• omit any relevant information to support your application
• make any false statements or misrepresentations

There is no cost for a TEN.

Apply for a TEN


Reclaiming rent

It is a criminal offence for a landlord to manage or control a house in multiple occupation without a licence under Housing Act 2004.

The council can reclaim up to 12 months of housing benefit or universal credit which has been paid to the landlord during the period the property was unlicensed. 

Private tenants can reclaim up to 12 months of rent if they can prove the landlord has committed or been convicted of an offence outlined below:

  • your landlord has rented a HMO without a licence
  • you have been illegally evicted or harassed by your landlord
  • your landlord has used violence to secure entry to a property
  • your landlord has failed to comply with enforcement action

Your landlord has no right to make you leave your home because you are applying for a Rent Repayment Order. 

Guidance on reclaiming rent (PDF)

Advice for tenants living in an unlicensed HMO (PDF)

Enforcement on HMOs

It is the responsibility of the landlord or managing agent to apply to the council for an HMO licence. 

It is a criminal offence to operate a licensable HMO without a licence in Camden.  

Failure to obtain a HMO licence and breaches of HMO regulations that ensure the property is safe and in good condition can carry a fixed penalty notice up to £30,000 or an unlimited fine upon prosecution. 

Failure to comply with the requirements of a HMO licence can carry a £30,000 fixed penalty notice or unlimited fine upon prosecution.

Private Sector Housing enforcement policy (PDF)

Contact Us

Landlords/Managing Agents

If you have any questions regarding houses in multiple occupation please fill in our enquiry form or call 020 7974 5969.

contact for landlords/managing agents

Tenants living in the private rented sector

If you are living in a property that you think requires a House in Multiple Occupation licence please fill in the enquiry form below or call 020 7974 5969.

contact for tenants

Have your say on Landlord licensing image and link