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Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

An HMO is a house or flat occupied by three or more tenants, who form two or more households and share amenities (such as bathrooms or kitchens). Some buildings converted into self-contained flats can also be HMOs if they do not meet certain building regulations and more than a third of the flats are rented out.

Currently, houses with three or more storeys and five or more occupants need to have an HMO licence.  However, with effect from 1st October 2018 all HMOs with five or more occupants will need to have an HMO licence.  Please see the latest edition of our pdf icon Landlord Focus newsletter [193kb] for an update on HMO licensing.

You can report unlicensed HMOs to us online - you should check our pdf icon HMO register [741kb] beforehand. This register is for reference only - anyone misusing the data may be referred to the Information Commissioners Office.

The Council does not currently run additional or selective licensing within the borough.

pdf icon Information on managing an HMO. [337kb].


Complete and return our pdf icon HMO licence application form [364kb]. If you are the landlord, you can nominate someone else to hold the licence for you. Please note that we are currently experiencing very high demand for HMO licence applications, as many of the existing HMO licences are due to expire. This unfortunately means there will be some delay in the processing of applications due to high volume. We will normally deal with licence applications in date order.

You can also apply to pdf icon renew a licence [394kb]. Licences are usually valid for five years.

pdf icon Guide to HMO licensing in Reading [507kb]

pdf icon Guide to amenity standards applicable to mandatory licensable HMOs [105kb]

pdf icon Guide to fire safety standards applicable to mandatory licensable HMOs [90kb]



Licence cost

Renewal cost

A - for members of the National Landlords Association accreditation schemeResidential Landlords Association Accreditation Scheme (RLAAS) or Reading Rent with Confidence Scheme (RRWC)



B - for ordinary new applicants



C - for landlords who did not licence their property correctly first time round



You cannot transfer a licence. If you sell your HMO, the new owner will have to apply for a licence of their own.


You can pdf icon apply for a three-month temporary exemption [225kb] from licensing if you are trying to turn the property into an unlicensable HMO or make sure it complies with the rules. If circumstances change and the property no longer needs a licence, you can write to us and you may get a partial refund.

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