Citywide HMO national licensing

The Housing Act 2004 requires landlords of Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) to apply for licences.

The HMOs that need to be licensed are as follows:

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

Flats situated in purpose built blocks consisting of 3 or more flats will not require an HMO Licence.

Brighton & Hove also has an additional HMO licensing scheme operating City wide.

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

Landlords or their agents need to apply to the council's Private Sector Housing team for an HMO Licence. Licences are issued for a period of up to five years and a new licence has to be applied for when they expire. Licences are not transferable and a new application is necessary if a property changes hands.

Applications must be accompanied by the appropriate fee, as decided by the council's Housing Cabinet Member meeting on 15 November 2017. See below for details of how to apply.

Unless ultimately, after inspection, a licence is refused, landlords will be operating legally once a valid application has been received by the council, even if we have not yet granted a licence. The Housing Act includes a formal appeal process for licence holders who are unhappy with the council's decisions on granting a licence or the conditions attached to it. Appeals can be made by emailing the Residential Property Tribunal office, which is in Chichester.

If you think your property may need to be licensed or have any questions, please ring Private Sector Housing on 01273 293156 or email us on

Standards of the Licensing Scheme

Properties that are required to be licensed need to meet certain standards. Details of these standards are available by clicking on the following link HMO Licensing Standards (PDF 295KB). On 15 November 2017, the Housing Committee approved changes to the minimum room sizes for kitchens and kitchens with dining areas in licensable Housing in Multiple Occupation. The sizes have been reduced and can be viewed by following the link to the standards above.

Making an application

National Licensing

Apply using our online HMO licence application form. Details of the fees are included on the application form. If you would like to look at the fees before linking to the application form they may be viewed here HMO Licensing Fees page.