A shared service delivering Environmental Health, Licensing and Trading Standards across Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire and Wokingham Borough Councils

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

What is a licensable HMO?

The licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018, came into effect on 1 October 2018 which extends the current mandatory licensing scheme across England.

Mandatory licensing applies to HMOs that are occupied by five or more occupants which form two households or more and meeting the “standard tests” (Section 254(2), or “the self-contained flat test” (Section 254(3), or “the converted building test” (Section 254(4) of the Housing Act 2004). In other words, a house, flat, a house converted into self-contained flats or units which does not meet the Building Regulations is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if:

• it is occupied by five (5) or more people - adults and children are counted as people
• they form two (2) or more households - a household may be; either a single person, or several members of the same family all related by blood (up to first cousin distance), or marriage (or equivalent co-habiting arrangement)
• they share basic amenities - toilet, bathroom and/or kitchen
• it is their only or main residence or they are to be treated as so occupying it - includes full-time students and use as a refuge from domestic violence and
• rent is payable - or other consideration, e.g. accommodation provided instead of wages.

Apply for a HMO licence online

HMO applications can be completed online.

The HMO application fee is reviewed annually. For details, please view our fees and charges.

HMO amenities and facilities guidance

Our HMO Licensable Guidance explains in more details of the statutory minimum legal requirements which should be read in conjunction with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) Guidance for Landlords and Property Related Professionals and LACORS Fire Safety Guidance.

Public register of HMOs

We hold a public register of houses in multiple occupation. If you wish to view the register, please contact us.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

In line with The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, we publish a Statement of Principles. The document outlines the terms under which we enforce the law relating to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and how we penalise those landlords found negligent. The Gov.uk website also provides an explanatory booklet for landlords and tenants about the law.


If there are civil matters related to tenancy agreements, illegal evictions or deposit dispute, the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber - Residential Property) is designed to settle them. More information is available at GOV.UK.

Associated documents

drawing of houses
Bracknell Forest
West Berkshire