Houses of Multiple Occupation


Important Changes to the Law

From 1 October 2018, the legislation regarding the mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) will change.

The storey-height criteria will be removed. This means ANY HMO that is occupied by five or more persons who form two or more separate households, and who share basic amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet, will require a license, regardless of the number of storeys. These properties must have a licence to operate. Landlords must apply for a licence before 1 October 2018. It is an offence to operate such a property without a licence or fail to comply with any conditions.


An HMO is:

  • An entire house or flat which is let to 3 or more tenants who form 2 or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
  • A house which has been converted entirely into bedsits or other non-self-contained accommodation and fit the above criteria.
  • A converted house which contains one or more flats which are not wholly self-contained and is occupied by 3 or more tenants forming 2 or more households.
  • A building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats if the conversion did not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than 1/3 of the flats are let on short-term tenancies.
  • The property must be the tenants’ only or main residence and should be used solely or mainly to house tenants. Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence, and the same will apply to properties which are used as domestic refuges. 

For more information, see the HMO government information.


HMO Licensing

If you own a property which meets all of the following criteria, you need a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licence:

  • The property is rented out and
  • The property is 3 or more storeys, including habitable attics or basements (from 1st October 2018 the 3-storey element is being removed) and
  • There are 5 or more occupants from 2 or more households, and
  • The tenants share facilities.

The licences are issued in order to raise and maintain the minimum standards of accommodation and management of these properties. They are mandatory, and failure to obtain the correct licence is a criminal offence, which may result in prosecution with unlimited fines. The licences are valid for up to 5 years, the fees are laid out below.


Multiple tenancy lets / Bedsit accommodation

A bedsit is a room with facilities for sleeping, eating, cooking and the storage of food. It may also contain personal washing facilities (wash hand basin and/or shower) but will generally involve shared bathroom/WC with other residents.

The fee goes up according to the number of lettings but any self-contained units are excluded when the fee is calculated.  For properties with 11 or more units contact Arun Direct for fees on Tel: 01903 737755.

Multiple tenancy licence fees

Number of lettings* 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Fee per HMO for 5 years £1,070.00 £1,133.00 £1,197.00 £1,261.00 £1,324.00 £1,388.00 £1,452.00 £1,515.00 £1,579.00
Renewal fee for 5 years £774.00 £825.00 £877.00 £928.00 £980.00 £1,032.00 £1,083.00 £1,135.00 £1,186.00

*Comprising in total 5 or more people in 2 or more households


Single tenancy shared houses

This is for properties where each occupant has their own bedroom but there is a communal kitchen for use by the occupants and no cooking facilities within the room. Bathrooms and/or WCs would generally be in a communal are and shared with other residents. The fee goes up according to the number of occupiers, for properties with 12 or more occupiers contact Arun Direct for fees on Tel: 01903 737755.

Single tenancy shared house licence fees

Number of Occupants 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Fee per HMO for 5 years £942.00 £958.00 £974.00 £990.00 £1,006.00 £1,022.00 £1,380.00
Renewal fee for 5 years £671.00 £684.00 £697.00 £710.00 £722.00 £735.00 £748.00




There is a reduction of £50 if you have previously applied for a licence for another property in Arun District Council within this financial year and for which the full initial or renewal fee was paid.

There is a reduction of £150 if you are an accredited landlord with the Chichester and Arun Landlord Accreditation Scheme. You must be fully accredited on the scheme at the time of the inspection to benefit from this reduction.


More information

If you believe your property requires an HMO licence, please download and complete this  HMO Licence Application 2018 v4.doc [doc] 246KB . It must be returned to us with the appropriate fee before we can action the request. If you would like any more advice or you are still unsure whether you require a licence, please contact us on 01903 737755 or email

All properties must meet the required standards for houses in multiple occupation which are detailed in the Council’s  Standards for Homes in Multiple Occupation November 2018.pdf [pdf] 1MB . If you have any queries regarding minimum standards or HMOs please contact the Council on 01903 737755

If the property is found not to require a licence during the application process, the fee will be refunded. The fee is not refundable, however, once a licence has been issued (e.g. if a property is converted to single occupation during the licence period). Fees will be reviewed from time to time to ensure they reflect the full cost of administering the licensing arrangements. Cheques must be made payable to Arun District Council.

Properties already licensed with Arun can be viewed on the public register.