Finding a house in multiple occupation (HMO)

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are buildings or flats occupied by more than one household or family. Certain houses in multiple occupation require a licence from us. Since October 2018 all HMOs with five or more occupants need to have an HMO licence. The council does not currently run additional or selective licensing within the borough. Landlords can apply for a licence online.

Where a property operates without the required licence a financial penalty could be issued, or the landlord or agent could be prosecuted through the courts. The tenants may also be able to request rent back through a Rent Repayment Order and there are restrictions on serving notice on tenants to leave where no licence is in force. For further information see guidance on houses in multiple occupation for tenants.

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.

Please note that the HMO Licensing scheme is separate to the planning restrictions and in particular the Article 4 Directions, which restrict HMO use in some areas of Reading. You can see information and a map of the areas covered by this on our pages about Article 4 Directions.

Some buildings may also have restrictions on the freehold or leasehold title, you may find information about those from the Leasehold Advisory Service.

Public register of licenced HMOs

Our register of HMO licences will confirm if an address has a licence. This is a shortened version of the public register of licenced HMOs. You can request other details held on the full public register that are not published online. There is a charge of £ £38.10 for this and you will need to make a payment before the information is sent to you. Please then email detailing what information you require, and 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.

Last updated on 21/04/2023