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Which houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) need a licence

Find out if your HMO needs to be licensed.
Important information

The link for Register of licensed houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) is currently being updated. Please visit this link at a later time, thank you.

There are two licensing schemes for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in the borough of Lewisham:

  • the National Mandatory Scheme.

  • a Lewisham Additional Scheme.

Not all HMOs need to be licensed. The criteria for the two schemes are below.

National Mandatory Scheme

By law, an HMO must have a mandatory licence if it: 

  • has five or more people in more than one household, and;

  • shares amenities, such as bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities.

If granted, National Mandatory Licenses are valid for five years.

Lewisham Additional Scheme

Additional licensing applies to certain Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) that fall outside the scope of the National Mandatory Scheme. 

A new Additional Scheme for Lewisham came into force on Tuesday 5 April 2022 and applies to any HMO property in Lewisham that is not captured by the National Mandatory Scheme, other than those specifically excluded from licensing.

The Additional Scheme licensing scheme applies to: 

  • properties where three or four people who are not part of the same household live together and share kitchen, toilet and/or bathroom facilities. 

  • properties in purpose built blocks of flats where three or more people who are not part of the same household share kitchen and/or bathroom facilities

  • lodger arrangements where more than two tenants share with their landlord and their landlord’s household.

It does not apply to:

  • properties occupied by two sharers.

  • family homes.

See Public Notice - Additional Licensing Scheme Designation 2022 for more information. The scheme was approved by the Council’s Mayor and Cabinet on 11 March 2020.

Licensed properties must comply with Licensing Standards.

Licence holders must comply with HMO Licence Conditions.

Failure to comply with the licence conditions will be dealt with through enforcement action. See the Council’s Private Sector Housing Enforcement and Licensing Policy 2021 for more information. 

HMO Licence Fees

You must submit a licence application for every property you rent out. The licence fee is split into two parts – an application fee and a licence enforcement fee. The application fee which covers the up-front processing costs is payable when the application is made. See HMO licensing fees and discounts for more information.

How long a does a licence last?

Both National Mandatory Licenses and Additional HMO Licenses, if granted, are valid for five years.

For a licence to remain valid, the property must meet the Licensing Standards and the licence holder abide by the HMO Licence Conditions for the duration of the licence.

If you're not sure if you need a licence

If you're not sure if you need a licence, contact us so we can make sure you're meeting your obligations.


Private Sector Housing Agency

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