Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

We have produced some advice and guidance for tenants in private rented properties on how to manage during the coronavirus restriction.

The Landlord Focus newsletter contains advice and guidance for landlords on how to manage their properties during the coronavirus restriction.

An HMO is a house or flat occupied by three or more people, 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.

Houses in Multiple Occupation – management pack

Summary of HMO regulations

With effect from 1st October 2018 all HMOs with five or more occupants need to have an HMO licence.  Please visit for guidance on the HMO legislation changes. You can also view a presentation on the changes to HMO licensing held at Reading Borough Council on 30 August 2018 here.

You can report unlicensed HMOs to us online – but please check our register of HMO licences first. This is a shortened version of the HMO Register.

If necessary, you can request other details held on the full public register that are not published online, but there is a charge of £34.00 for this and you will need to email  detailing what information you require, and then make a payment before the information is sent to you.

We will then send you an electronic copy of the register.

Warning: you may not extract or re-utilise information derived from the register and/or any copies of such information (whether electronic or in hard copy format) for any commercial or business purpose including but not limited to, trading, building commercial databases, reselling or redistribution of such information.

If someone becomes aware of a third party using information derived from the register in contravention of these terms and conditions this can be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

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


Complete our online HMO licence application form. 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.

Please note that new applications must now be submitted online. We advise you to read our frequently asked questions document before you begin your online application, or if you are having problems making your application. If this document does not answer your query please contact us at

If you cannot apply online, or you need some help, please contact us at

You can also apply to HMO licence renewal application form. Licences are usually valid for five years. Currently you must submit a paper form to renew a licence. We will be moving to an online renewal form in the near future.

Guide to HMO licensing in Reading

Guide to amenity standards applicable to mandatory licensable HMOs

Grade D fire detection and alarm installation completion certificate (BS5839: Part 6)

Grade D fire alarm systems self-declaration form

Example of a landlord/homeowner gas safety record

Examples of electrical testing forms from the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology)

Electronic correspondence consent form – this relates to issuing licences and draft licences by email. We intend to do this for HMO licence applications where we have consent from all relevant people. If we do not have consent from all relevant people, you may still receive some licences by post. If you consent to receiving documents in this way please complete and return the form, with the relevant information and signature(s) to


Charges shown are for a licensable HMO with up to 5 letting rooms/units; a supplement of £25 per additional letting room/unit will be applied.

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

BandLicence feeLicence renewal fee
A – for those applicants who are accredited members of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) or Reading Rent with Confidence Scheme (RRWC) at the time the application is made £690£395
B – for ordinary new applicants£770£475
C – for landlords who did not licence their property correctly first time round£1,485£815


You can apply for a three-month temporary exemption 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.