Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) can offer good quality affordable accommodation to people who cannot afford to buy their own homes and are not eligible for council housing.

Renew or apply for an HMO

A licence holder can be the landlord, manager  (if identified) or another person or body who has control of the property. They must:

  • be over 18 years old
  • pass the 'fit and proper person' test
  • not live abroad
  • not be in prison

If any of the above apply then another person/body will need to be appointed as the licence holder and manager, if identified.

To assist existing licence holders, the council will send a reminder to the licence holder approximately 3 months before the expiry of the licence.

The council is not obliged to do this and its failure to do so does not provide the licence holder with an excuse not to make a valid re-application.

Failure to renew a licence before its expiration date will forfeit the right to relicense at the renewal fee rate. In addition, formal action will be considered, which may include, prosecution, applying for a Rent Repayment Order or issuing a Civil Penalty. 

Before you apply

Before you apply, get the details you'll need and documents ready, and read the guidance notes.

HMO application guidance notes (PDF 776KB)

Private Rented Property Licensing guidance notes (PDF 182KB)


The form will ask you for some details. It may help save time if you prepare these in advance:

  • credit card or debit card details for payment
  • registration number if you're a company or charity
  • professional landlord organisation membership or registration number if you're a member
  • the licence holder's address will appear on a public register of HMOs that we are legally required to provide, so you may wish to consider an alternative address, such as a business or PO box address - you cannot use the HMO address unless the licence holder is a resident
  • manager contact details if you appoint someone to manage the HMO - the manager's address will appear on a public register of HMOs that we are legally required to provide, so you may wish to consider another address - you cannot use the HMO address unless the manager is a resident
  • contact details of any mortgage company, joint freeholder and other interested parties in the property as we need to inform them of your application

Documents you will need to provide

The application form will prompt you for the documents you'll need to submit. It may help save time if you prepare electronic versions (such as a scan or photograph) of these in advance.

  • floor plans for the property - they need to:
    • be either to scale (and the scale shown, for example, 1:50) or have the dimensions of the rooms annotated on the plans
    • show the use of each room, the layout, facilities and where the fire precautions (if any) are, such as the location of fire detectors, emergency lighting, fire blankets and fire doors
  • latest gas safety certificate, if the property has gas
  • latest electrical installation condition report (EICR - previously known as periodic electrical inspection report)
  • current certificate of title (land registry) obtained in the last 28 days

The documents above, if applicable, must be provided with the application. Failure to do so will mean that your application may be rejected. The fee you paid will be retained if this happens.

You may also need to provide:

  • an automatic fire detection system certificate
  • an emergency lighting certificate
  • a portable electrical appliance test certificate, if applicable
  • a copy of any relevant planning consent, building regulations approval or completion certificate, if applicable
  • a copy of the tenancy agreement or written terms of tenancy
  • a charity registration certificate, if applicable

Make sure you keep your certificates up to date as it is your responsibility to do so. Most certificates have an expiry date and may need to be renewed, for example your annual landlord's gas safety certificate and your annual fire alarm certificate. Lambeth Council may require you to produce these documents as required by the conditions attached to your licence.

Apply online

From the 17 March 2023 Lambeth will be moving to the Metastreet system for managing HMO licences. Find out more about the transition.

There has been an increase in the number of applications following the introduction of the Additional Licensing scheme. This is impacting the processing time and has resulted in a notable backlog. The team are working hard to process applications in a timely manner.

Renew or apply for a HMO license online

Lambeth has a new HMO licensing system, in the new system you will be able to:

  • manage all the properties in your portfolio including associated data and evidence in one place
  • load and update certificates needed for you property
  • manage all your licences within the one account
  • view and complete conditions associated with the licence
  • access and print documents associated with the licence

Payments for the licence(s) will be made in two parts, one at the end of the online application process, which will be taken electronically and the final payment prior to the issue of the licence (if granted).


The licence fee will be split into two parts for payment (Part A & Part B):

Part A – This is the first part of the fee and it covers the cost of processing your application. This fee is payable when the application is submitted to us and is non-refundable.

Part B – This is the second part of the fee and it relates to the cost the council incurs in the ongoing administration and enforcement of the licence. This fee is payable when we have determined that the licence application has succeeded and must be paid before we issue the licence.

Your application is not 'duly made' until both fees are paid and your final licence will not be issued until full payment is received.

If you fail to pay the Part B fee within 10 days of the department requesting for payment to be made, the decision to grant a licence will be reviewed. Depending on the outcome of this review, your licence may be refused instead of granted. In the event the licence is refused, the Part A fee will remain non-refundable and be retained by the council.

Licence fee refunds

We will give you a refund if: 

  • There is a duplicate application 
  • The application was made in relation to an exempted property

Please note: if a refund is agreed, the council will only refund to the original payee by the same method of payment used i.e. via original credit card used etc. 

We will not give you a refund if: 

  • the application is refused 
  • the application is withdrawn 
  • a Prohibition Order is made against the property 
  • the licence is revoked 

The initial fee (first payment) is non-refundable once the application is submitted, the property is sold, or the property ceases to be let 

New applicants

You are required to create an account and will be asked to set up a username and password.


If you are an existing HMO Licence holder an account has been created for you and all your existing licence(s) and properties are available for you to view.

Before renewing your licence(s) you will need to ensure all your property data is up to date and you have loaded all the required evidence. This can be done in the ‘My Properties’ section. A guidance video is available here to assist you.

If you have any problems, please contact:


Next steps

Once we've received your full and complete application we will aim to process your application in 12 weeks. A full and complete application consists of:

  • an application form
  • initial payment
  • all required documentation

If you have not heard from us and have not received your decision within 12 weeks after submitting your application please email us at:

We will issue a proposed licence with the licence terms or the reasons we can't grant one. We'll consult with all interested parties in the property, including the Fire and Rescue Authority. After the consultation we'll then issue or refuse to issue the licence. You'll receive full details of this process in your confirmation email. 

The licence conditions will cover the main regulations and standards you must meet. In some cases they may also require the manager to go on a training course or restrict occupiers from using some parts of the building.

The council will inspect every HMO that has a licence to make sure they comply with all requirements and licensing conditions.