Cookies information

We use cookies to make the site simpler. Find out more about the cookies we use.

Renting out property

What a landlord must do

If you own a property and rent it out, you are a landlord. It is your responsibility to make sure that the property is safe and free from health hazards. 

Renting out property counts as running a business. You have a legal duty to check that your tenants have the 'right to rent' and how you manage the deposit. Getting it wrong can be very costly.

The website has all the information you need to let a property. It will explain your legal responsibilities, from health and safety to your financial obligations.

If you decide to using a letting agent, please see our Property Agent Rating Scheme to identify which agents you can trust to look after your interests.

Renting out your property

Houses in multiple occupation

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a building or part of a building, for example a flat, that is occupied by more than one household and in which more than one household shares an amenity such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.

A household may be (i) a single person or (ii) a co-habiting couple or (iii) several members of the same family, all related by blood or marriage.

A building which is converted into self contained flats can be a HMO if the conversion did not meet the 1991 Building Regulations and less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied.

Mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation

Mandatory licensing of HMOs is required by law, and is operated by all local councils in England and Wales. Currently, mandatory licensing applies to HMOs that are:

  • 3, or more storeys high
  • let to 5, or more persons who form more than one household who share an amenity, such as a kitchen, bathroom, or toilet

From 1 October 2018 the 3 storey rule will be removed and other changes to the regulations mean that some flats, including those over shops, will also require a licence if they are occupied by 5 or more people, from 2, or more separate households.

All properties for which the extension to mandatory licensing applies must make an application for a licence by 1 October 2018

House in multiple occupation licence

Register of licenced HMOs 

When this content has been updated

Last updated 9 March 2023