Houses in multiple occupation

Houses that are occupied by three or more people who do not live as a single household are known as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), for example:

  • Bedsits
  • Shared houses and lodgings
  • Employment or educational accommodation
  • Shared accommodation for homeless people
  • Residential Care Homes and similar establishments

HMO licence - The law has changed

By 1st October 2018 Houses in Multiple Occupation must be licensed if they are

  • rented to 5 or more people who form more than 1 household
  • tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

Currently, you require a licence if the above applies and additionally the property is

  • Three or more storeys high (includes cellars, basements and loft conversions)


You can be fined up to £20,000 for renting out an unlicensed HMO.  

Licences will be given if:

  • the house is or can be made suitable for multiple occupation
  • the applicant is the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • the proposed manager has control of the house and is the best person to be the manager
  • the management arrangements are satisfactory.

Apply online for a HMO licence

A 3 year HMO licence costs £450.

Apply for a HMO licence

Please note: applying online works best when using Internet Explorer. If you are a user of Chrome you will require the 'Acrobat Reader Chrome Extension'. To download this extension please visit the Adobe website.

Posted applications should be sent to Operational Services, Environmental & Regulatory Services, Forest of Dean District Council, High Street, Coleford, GL16 8HG, with a cheque payable to 'Forest of Dean District Council', alternatively payment can be made by phoning 01594 810000.

Approval of the HMO licence

Tacit consent does not apply, therefore, you cannot assume that the licence has been automatically granted if you haven't heard from us. It is in the public interest that the Council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the Council within 28 days, please contact us for an update. 

The licence for your HMO is valid for a maximum of three years and you will need to apply for another licence before the current one expires.