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Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

HMO licences are required in Boston for properties meeting the national Mandatory criteria which is currently around the number of storeys, the number of households living in them and the number or people in those households

HMO licences are currently required for 3 or more storey properties meeting the following criteria:

A guide to assist landlords in checking if their property needs a HMO licence is available to download - see Related documents. However, please be aware that mandatory licensing will be changing shortly - see below.


A storey may include an attic and/or a basement, regardless of how it is currently used

A household can be a single person or certain members of the same family who live together.

The Private Sector Housing team can provide guidance on what constitutes a family. For more details, see Housing Act 2004, Section 258 in Useful links.

The Government have announced that mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) will be extended on the 1st October 2018.  From that date mandatory licensing will apply to HMOs that are below three storeys if they are occupied by five or more persons forming two or more households. This is in addition to the current requirement for those of three storeys or more. For more details click on this link: Extension of Mandatory HMO Licensing

Landlords, letting agents and related professionals can register for the Lincolnshire Landlords Electronic newsletter to keep up to date with changes in the sector - see Related articles for more details.

Eligibility criteria

The responsibility for applying for a HMO licence for a property rests with the landlord.

If you are prosecuted by the council for not holding a licence and you are convicted of the offence you could face an unlimited fine.

See Related articles for more details.

Summary of requirements

The granting of a licence is dependent on meeting minimum standards for amenities, management and fire precautions. If you would like us to visit your property before submitting an application to give advice about what work you might need to do, contact the Private Sector Housing team either by telephone or email - see Contact us at the top of the page for details.

Mandatory HMO licences are valid for up to 5 years and will specify the number of occupiers and households permissible in the HMO.  Occupancy numbers will depend on the size of the rooms and the facilities available.

HMOs must meet certain standards to be licensed; these are set out in Schedule 4 of the Housing Act 2004. The Act also allows a local authority to include additional conditions as it considers appropriate.  All the standards and conditions that are required by Boston Borough Council can be found in Appendix A of the Private Sector Housing Policy Framework - see Related documents.

The licence holder is required to comply with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006, as amended, as well as any approved code of practice issued under Section 233 of the Housing Act 2004.

Where a property does not meet all of the requirements for a full licence, the Council may:

The licence holder will be expected to show that they are a 'fit and proper person' to be given a licence.  Boston Borough Council will determine whether the Landlord/Managing Agent is the most appropriate person to hold a licence by looking at whether they have:

In addition, the licence holder will be asked to provide a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. See Useful links.

If you rent out a property which requires a licence but you intend to make the property one which no longer requires a licence, you must apply for a Temporary Exemption from Licensing which can last for a three-month period up to a maximum of six months.

How to apply for a HMO licence, make a change or renew a licence

Application forms are available from the Private Sector Housing Team - please email or call the team on the telephone number above.

Information on current HMO licence application fees for 3 storey or more properties and additional information can be found in Related documents

 Will tacit (implied) consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that Boston Borough Council process the application to determine whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold the licence and if the property is suitable. After completing and submitting your application if you have not heard from the Council within 28 days, please contact us.

What can I do if your application is refused, or you are unhappy with a licence condition imposed, or as a member of the public you are unhappy that a licence has been granted?

If you have any questions relating to a licence please contact Boston Borough Council's Private Sector Housing team in the first instance.

You may appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).  Please see "Useful links" for a link to the Gov.UK website for further information on appealing to a property tribunal about a council order, notice or licence.

Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the decision being made.

Other complaints

If you have a complaint about noise, pollution or concerns about health and safety relating to any property please contact Boston Borough Council.

If you know of a property that may need an HMO licence, please contact the Private Sector Housing team either by telephone or by email giving the address and description of the property, how many live there (if known) and the names of the landlord and occupiers (if known)

Landlord Associations

Please see "Useful links"

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Related documents

Size Name
[332kb] Does my property need a HMO licence HMO licence guidance
[699kb] Private Sector Housing Policy Framework 2015 Private Sector Housing Policy Framework 2015
[3Mb] Delegation of Decisions - Authorisations for Private Sector Housing Delegation of decisions
[120kb] Current 3-storey HMO licence application fees and additional information Current 3-storey HMO licence application fees and additional information
[437kb] Licensing of HMO's in England - A guide for landlords and managers Licensing of HMO's in England - A guide for landlords and managers

The documents in this section are in Adobe Acrobat format (pdf). You will need Acrobat Reader to view these files which can be downloaded from the Adobe website free of charge.