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Apply for a HMO Licence

Please use our step by step guide to applying for your HMO Licence.


Do I need a HMO licence for the property?

You will need a licence if your property has:

  • Five or more people living there, forming two or more households, and
  • They share facilities such as a bathroom, toilet or kitchen

Tenants are only classified as a Household if they are:

  • Co-habiting couples
  • Blood-related, or foster families
  • Carers and domestic staff

Student halls of residence managed by the university and buildings owned by public bodies are not classified as HMOs.

How much will a licence cost ?

The standard cost of a HMO licence is £1150. The licence fee is payable in two parts as follows:

Part 1

The licence processing fee of £530. This fee is payable when the application is submitted to the Council.

Part 2

The administration and compliance fee of £620.

This fee is payable when the Council has determined that the licence application has succeeded and must be paid before the Council releases the licence.

A HMO licence renewal fee is £862.50 and is also payable in two parts (as above).

  • Part 1 - £396.75
  • Part 2 - £465.75

Reduced fees are available to the standard and renewal application fees, as follows:

Reduction type

Application Type

Part 1 Fee

(to be submitted with the application)

Part 2 fee

(to be submitted when the licence application succeeds but before the licence is issued).

Total fee

(Must be paid in two parts.  Unsuccessful applicants will not be charged the second fee)

Cornwall Responsible Landlord Scheme Members – 5% reduction

First Application




As above





Members of recognised landlord associations (e.g. CRLA, NLA, SWLA etc)

2.5% reduction

First Application




As above






You will be required to provide proof of membership (scheme/membership number).

No reduced fees are available for properties we find operating without a licence.

Are there any standards that my property must meet?

Further information

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page if you would like to find out more about why HMO's are licensed. Alternatively please call the team to discuss your concerns.


Preparing for your HMO Licence Application

Before starting to fill in the online application form we recommend that you first work your way through the sections below to ensure that you have all the relevant information to hand.

Please see the checklist at the bottom of this page.

Who should apply for a HMO Licence?

Anyone who owns or manages an HMO that must be licensed has to apply to the Local Authority for a licence. The Authority must issue a licence if it is satisfied that:

  • The HMO is reasonably suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence
  • The proposed licence holder is a “fit and proper person”
  • The proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold the licence
  • The proposed manager (if there is one) is a “fit and proper person”
  • The proposed management arrangements are satisfactory
  • The person involved in the management of the HMO is competent
  • The financial structures for the management and maintenance of the property are suitable

The Authority must have regard to any evidence, which may effect the decision to grant a HMO licence.

What will I need to apply for a HMO Licence?

Before you start to complete the online application form we recommend that you gather together all the information that you will need.

It is advisable that you read the Guide to applying for a HMO Licence  before you start the application process.

Check List

For a licence application to be deemed valid, you must provide the following:

  • A fully completed and signed application form
  • The relevant fee
  • A current landlord gas safety certificate (if applicable)
  • A current Electrical Installation Condition report
  • A floor plan with all rooms labelled, such as bedroom, kitchen, etc and the dimensions for each room


Start your application process

This page takes you through the application for a HMO Licence.

Please ensure that you have collated all the information that you need to complete an application. We recommend that you look at 'What I need to apply for a licence' (Step 2) before you start the online application process to ensure that you have all the information you will need to hand.

There are three methods that you can choose from to apply for a HMO Licence.

1. Apply online directly to Cornwall Council

Apply for a HMO licence

2.  GOV.UK online forms

You can apply online for a new HMO Licence or renew an existing HMO Licence using the GOV.UK online forms.

3.  Download a HMO Licence Application

You can download a HMO Licence application form to send by email or post.

Send your completed application, together with the accompanying information, to us using the details shown on this page.

Whichever application method you use, you must complete all parts of the form and include all of the required information. If it is not complete we will not be able to treat your application as valid.

Please proceed to Step 4 to pay for your HMO Licence.

Further information

If you would like to know more about why the Council might turn down an application and how to appeal a decision please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.

How to pay for your HMO Licence

You should have now completed the online application form and be ready to make a payment for the HMO Licence.

We are able to accept payment in the following ways:

By cheque - Please make your cheque payable to Cornwall Council and state on the back of the cheque that it is for an HMO Licence and the address of the property that the licence relates to.

By Credit/Debit card - please contact us by telephone using the number on this page.

If you wish to pay in cash at a One Stop Shop or by bank transfer please contact us for further information on how to do this.

What happens after I’ve paid my fee?

If you have paid by cheque we will send you a copy of the receipt. If the application form you submitted had all the required information, it will be passed to an officer for validation and processing.

If there is some information missing from your application we will contact you to let you know what we need. You will have 7 days to provide this information.

How long does it take to process my application?

We aim for all applications to be processed within 40 working days of an application being validated and accepted by the authority as complete.

In some circumstances beyond the Council's control such as delays caused by awaiting payment of fees or safety certification etc from applicants it may take longer to process an application. 

In these circumstances we commit to processing a licence within 3 months.

If a licence cannot be progressed in this timescale it is likely the application will be rejected.


What do I need to know about how to manage my Licenced HMO?

The following page provides guidance on how you should manage your licenced house in multiple occupation (HMO) and what you should do if you need to make a change to your HMO licence.

Duties of a HMO Licence holder

There are a range of duties that a Manager of a HMO must observe. Please read the leaflet Duties of a HMO Manager for more information.

1. Criminal Offence 

If an House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) should be licensed and isn't then this is a criminal offence and can result in a fine of up to £20,000. However if there is an effective licence application outstanding for a Temporary Exemption Notice or if there is a reasonable explanation the Council may be able to reconsider their action.

2. Rent returned to tenants

No rent is payable for occupation of an HMO which is not Licensed and should be. This means that tenants or Cornwall Council (where Housing Benefit has been paid) can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal for a rent repayment order. This requires the landlord to pay back any rent collected during the period that the offence occurred.

3. Breach Of Licence Conditions

Conditions are attached to all licenses that Cornwall Council issues. 

The HMO licence will state when it comes into force and when it ends (usually 5 years) and it will specify the number of people that can live within the property.

Licence conditions will be imposed on the licence holder, some of which will be mandatory (these are set out in law) and others may be at the discretion of Cornwall Council.

4. Mandatory licence conditions will include:-

  • To provide a Gas Safety Certificate to Cornwall Council every year
  • To install and maintain smoke alarms in working order and on demand supply Cornwall Council with a declaration of its safety
  • Discretionary conditions may be a specific condition applying to an individual HMO because of a certain set of circumstances or may be a condition that applies to all licensed HMOs.

5. Examples of discretionary conditions may include:-

  • Requirement of licence holder to attend training on management of HMOs.
  • Restrictions on the use or occupation of parts of the property.
  • Restriction on the number of people who can live in a licenced HMO.

If the Licence Holder or Manager allows the property to be occupied by more people than is permitted on the licence they may be fined up to £20,000. If a Licence Condition is ignored or not complied with the Licence Holder or Manager, if prosecuted, may be subject to an unlimited fine. Alternatively, a Civil Penalty of up to £30,000 may be issued.

Prosecution or Civil Penalty does not mean that Cornwall Council will not use its power to revoke the licence.

Varying a licence

An HMO Licence can be varied at any time either with an agreement between the Council and the licence holder, at the request of the licence holder or where circumstances may have changed since the licence was granted and amendments to licence conditions are required.

In deciding whether to vary a licence Cornwall Council will not be able to impose higher standards than applied on the original licence except where the new amenity standards prescribed by regulations have been introduced.

Revoking a licence

Generally a licence will end after 5 years, or after the period specified in the licence. However, Cornwall Council may decide to end the licence before the time specified in certain circumstances. For example:-

  • the current licence holder no longer has an interest in the property
  • where there are repeated and serious breaches of a licence condition
  • where the licence holder is no longer considered to be a fit and proper person

When a licence is revoked Cornwall Council must grant another licence or make an Interim Management Order unless the property no longer requires a licence.

Death of the licence holder

Following the death of a licence holder the licence ceases to be in force. For a period of 3 months following this the house is treated as though a temporary exemption notice has been served. After that, a new licence application must be submitted or if ownership is not finalised, a temporary exemption notice must be applied for, giving a further 3 months to resolve any issues.