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Additional licensing of HMOs

How do I apply for my HMO Licence?

The Council’s Additional Licensing Scheme has now been renewed for a further 5 years. This will mean that anyone that owns or manages a property licensable under the scheme, will need to apply for a new license to operate their HMO. The Government has also made a number of changes to the Mandatory Licensing Scheme.  In order to help you understand these changes and to help you prepare, we have provided some questions and answers below:


HMO licensing what I need to know: Questions and Answers.


The Council will be launching an on-line application for all types of HMO Licences soon, which will incorporate an on-line payment facility. The link to the new on-line system is below:


Apply for your HMO Licence here (to follow)


We are expecting a large number of renewals so there may be a delay in issuing your new license. As long as you have submitted a valid application i.e. one that is accompanied by the required, in date, safety certificates and you have made your payment your HMO can continue to operate as normal.


What Happens Next?

The Council will be contacting all existing landlords directly to let them know when the new on line form is available. 


Further Information

You can find out more information by emailing: hmolicensing@bedford.gov.uk.


Approval of the Scheme

Below you can find a number of useful documents including the Councils formal reply to the public consultation to many of the issues you have raised.  The Council should like to thank everyone who took the time to give us their comments to help make the scheme better.



House for rent


What is an HMO?

The Housing Act 2004 changed the definition of ‘house in multiple occupation’ (HMO) to include:

  • Traditional bedsit type houses where tenants have their own room or rooms but share something like a bathroom or kitchen.
  • Shared houses where people live as a group but are not a family group.
  • Houses occupied by the owner (residential landlord) plus two or more lodgers or house sharers*
  • Mixtures of rooms and flats in a house – as long as there is some sharing;
  • Flats that are let out to sharers, 3 or more;
  • Hostels, projects and other residential uses that involve adults sharing living space (but not if the property is owned or managed by a Registered Social  landlord).
  • Houses converted into self contained flats where they do not meet the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations, and at least one third of the flats are occupied under shorthold tenancies.


*Two unrelated occupiers living in a house is NOT an HMO. If you are unsure - email hmolicensing@bedford.gov.uk


This is a basic summary and the full definition can be found in the Housing Act 2004, sections 254 – 260 and schedule 14.


For Additional Licensing ALL HMOs will be licensable unless they are exempted.


More information about additional licensing

Additional licensing will require all owners and managers of affected properties to apply for a licence. There will be documents to provide such as gas safety certificates, fire alarm and emergency lighting  test certificates, tenancy agreements and proof of deposit protection. Owners and managers will need to decide who will be the 'licence holder'. They must be a fit and proper person as defined in section 66 of the Housing Act 2004. This is to ensure that people whom own and operate HMOs are fit to do.


HMOs will be inspected during the licence period (5 years) and checked to make sure the standards are compliant. The focus will be on fire, gas and electrical safety, good management practices, good quality shared facilities and rooms that are sufficiently spacious to avoid overcrowding.


Further enquiries

We trust this information is useful to you, however if you have any further questions then please do not hesitate to contact the Environmental Health & Trading Standards Service by the following methods:


By post:

All correspondence should be addressed to:

Community Regulation

Borough Hall

Cauldwell Street

MK42 9AP


By telephone:

(01234) 718516 – you will be connected to the HMO telephone line.

By email:


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