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Cambridge City Council

Licensing of houses in multiple occupation

Any rental property occupied by five or more tenants as their only or main residence must be licensed if the tenants share kitchen or bathroom facilities. The property can occupy any number of floors.

This follows a change in the law regarding the licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004.


To apply, print, complete and return an application form:

You can also apply online on the GOV.UK website.

Variation, renewal and exemption forms

Fee structure

There are two fees to pay:

  • Fee on application: £662
  • Fee on grant of licence: £326

The fee on application, which covers the cost of administration, must be made with the application.

The fee on grant of licence covers the cost of the overall management and enforcement of the licence. It is payable just before the licence is granted – you will be reminded to pay when you receive the draft licence.

If you apply to renew your licence by submitting a full and complete application at least 8 weeks before your current licence expires, the fee on application is reduced to £564. As with first-time applications, we’ll remind you to pay the remaining £326 when you receive the draft licence.

After a licence has been granted, we will only give a refund in exceptional circumstances at our discretion. The fees are calculated to cover our costs, which may have already been incurred.

Details of payment methods are listed on page 10 of the application to licence a house in multiple occupation (above).


We aim to process licence applications within 6 weeks of receipt of a full and complete application and fee.

Coronavirus pandemic update: We are still processing licensing applications, but this might take longer than our usual six-week guideline. If you have submitted an application there is no need to contact us further at this stage unless absolutely necessary. We will contact applicants by email wherever possible at this time.

Licences 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.

Please note that extra conditions may be added to individual licenses as necessary, eg a formal licence condition to prove competence in property management.

Please Note: We send a weekly list of licenced HMOs in the city to planning enforcement within the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service. A HMO of 7 or more people requires planning permission. If you do not already have planning consent for the property to be a large (7+) HMO then it is strongly recommended that you resolve this as soon as possible directly with the planning enforcement team at

You can check your properties planning status including any applications via the planning portal webpage.


You should contact us directly in the first instance if you have an issue or query regarding an HMO licence application.

You can appeal a decision regarding a licence to the First–tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.