Mandatory licensing of HMOs

Some HMOs will require a licence from the council if the property meets the following criteria:

  • three or more storeys (including basements, cellars and loft conversions) AND
  • occupied by 5 or more people, forming 2 or more households AND
  • tenants share facilities such as kitchen, bathrooms or laundry

Licensing procedure

If your property requires a licence, you must complete a licence application form and return it to the council for consideration, along with the necessary certificates and payment. Once the application has been considered, a draft (or ‘minded to’) letter and licence certificate will be sent to you and any other relevant people. Assuming there are no representations (objections), the final licence will then be issued approximately 3 weeks following the draft licence. An appointment will be made to inspect the property within the 3 year period and works may be required to bring the property up to standard.

If you are in agreement, the property will also be issued with a fit to rent certificate and will become part of this accreditation scheme.

A licence will be granted if:

  • the house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation;
  • the applicant is a fit and proper person and the most appropriate person to hold the licence;
  • the proposed manager has control of the house, and is a fit and proper person to be the manager;
  • the management arrangements are satisfactory.


With effect from 16th May 2018 the cost of an HMO Licence is, as follows:-

  • £630 for applications relating to the new extended mandatory licensing scheme coming into effect on 1st October 2018.
  • £500 for new or renewal applications relating to the current mandatory licensing scheme.

From 1 October 2018 the fee for all licence applications will be £630.

The licence lasts for three years.  Payment can be made either online, or by cheque (payable to Cheltenham Borough Council).

Apply for a licence

To apply for a licence, please download the application form.  A shorter version of the application form is available for HMO licence renewals only where there have been no material changes since the last application. Licence applications can be printed off for completion and returned to us at the Municipal Offices, or completed electronically and returned by email to

Please ensure that your application includes:

  • gas safety certificate (annual)
  • electrical installation condition report (5 yearly)
  • fire safety checks
  • a plan of the property
  • copy of tenancy agreement
  • fee

Additional fees may be payable in the case of incomplete, invalid or incorrect applications.

If you have any queries about your licence application form, please do not hesitate to contact us for further advice.

Fines and Penalties

It is an offence:

  • to not have a licence for a property that requires one; or
  • to allow occupation of an HMO over the number of people permitted; or
  • to fail to comply with any condition of the licence.

You could get an unlimited fine for renting out an unlicensed HMO or a fine of up to £5000 for breaching a condition of the licence.

Rent Repayment Orders

A tenant living in a property that should have been licensed but was not, can apply to the First Tier Property Tribunal to claim back any rent they have paid during the unlicensed period (up to a limit of 12 months). Councils can also reclaim any housing benefit that has been paid during the time the property was without a licence.

Restrictions on termination of tenancies

Tenants living in a property that should have been licensed but was not, cannot be evicted by serving a section 21 Housing Act 1988 notice until such time as the HMO is licensed or a management order is in place.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard us within a reasonable period, please contact us.

Failed application redress

Please contact us in the first instance.  You may appeal to the First Tier Property tribunal.  Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Licence holder redress

Please contact us in the first instance. You may appeal to the First Tier Property tribunal regarding conditions attached to a licence or any decision to vary or revoke a licence. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Public register of licensed HMO’s

Download the public register.