Licensing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

Safe, well managed private rented accommodation for our residents

A property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) if it's let as a main or only home:

  • to at least three tenants who form more than one family household
  • and the tenants share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.

Find out about our current licensing schemes below

New licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

At the meeting on 17 June 2015, the council’s Housing & New Homes Committee approved the designation of a new additional licensing scheme for HMOs. The scheme came into force on 2 November 2015 and it covers the Brunswick & Adelaide, Central Hove, East Brighton, Goldsmid, Preston Park, Regency and Westbourne wards. These are the streets included for the 7 wards above (PDF 75KB).

These are the streets included for the 5 wards of Hanover & Elm Grove; Moulsecoomb & Bevendean; St Peter's & North Laine: Hollingdean & Stanmer; and Queens Park wards (PDF 381KB).

View or download the notice of designation for the additional HMO licensing scheme (PDF 42KB)

Revised HMO Licensing fees, applying from 1 August 2015, were also agreed at this meeting HMO Licensing Fees.

Our HMO licensing schemes

There are two types of licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Brighton & Hove.

Citywide National Licensing

The Housing Act 2004 requires landlords of larger HMOs to apply for licences. HMOs that need to be licensed are those which:

  • have three or more storeys, and which are
  • occupied by five or more people forming two or more households (ie people not related or living together as a couple), and
  • have an element of shared facilities, (eg kitchen, bathroom, etc)

Additional Licensing for smaller HMOs in twelve wards

This applies, under locally adopted schemes, to smaller houses in multiple occupation consisting of two or more storeys, with three or more occupiers from two or more households sharing facilities.

As far as licensing is concerned, attics and basements are included as storeys if they are used as part of the living accommodation.

What standards apply to licensed HMOs?

Licensed HMOs are generally expected to meet the council's HMO Licensing Standards. Any work necessary for compliance is required by way of conditions attached to the licence.

Go to our frequently asked questions

HMO Licensing and Planning

Please note that processing an HMO licence application and issuing a licence does not grant any planning consent that might be required for the property to be used as a house in multiple occupation. Additional planning controls exist in Brighton & Hove meaning that full planning permission may be required to rent a property as an HMO. If you are unsure if any planning consent is needed, please contact the council's Development Control team on 01273 292222, Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 12 noon for advice.

Register of HMO Licences

These are now available online. Use the 'Find' box at top of each document or the 'Ctrl F' search function to search the register for specific terms such as address or street names.

Updated 23 November 2016

If you consider any of the information in these registers is incorrect, please contact the Private Sector Housing Team on 01273 293156 or email us on psh@brighton-hove.gov.uk


For further information about the introduction of HMO Licensing, see our HMO Licensing in Sussex information sheet (PDF 243KB). Information is also available in the Communities and Local Government booklet Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation in England - A guide for landlords and managers (PDF 438KB)

If you think your property may need to be licensed or have any questions, please ring Private Sector Housing on 01273 293156 or e-mail us on psh@brighton-hove.gov.uk.