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What happens after you apply for a licence

On receipt of your application, you will be sent an acknowledgement email with a unique application reference number and we will process your application.

The process is as follows:

  1. We will review any available information relating to the proposed licence holder, and any separate property manager, against our ‘fit and proper’ criteria as well as all relevant documents/certification you have provided.
  2. We will issue a proposal to grant or refuse a licence (draft licence.) This will include the permitted numbers who will be allowed to occupy the property.
  3. Copies of the draft licence will also be sent to all interested parties such as managing agents, joint freeholders/leaseholders, mortgagors and tenants who will be given 21 days to make any representations. Representations must be made online.
    Make a representation
  4. After 21 days a final decision to grant or refuse the licence is made, taking into account any representations received. Copies will be sent to all interested parties.
  5. If granted, the licence is usually issued for a five year period, but a shorter licence may be granted if there are concerns relating to the management of the property, or about the physical condition of the premises.
  6. Once a licence has been issued, the property may be inspected periodically to check that the licence conditions and houses in multiple occupation (HMO) standards (where applicable) are being complied with and whether the property presents any unacceptable levels of risk to the occupants.
  7. Depending on the outcome of the inspection, works may be required. In certain cases it may be necessary to take enforcement action against the licence holder.

Additional information on property licensing

Legal action

If a landlord fails to get a property licence or fails to comply with the conditions of a licence they could face enforcement from the council which could include a financial penalty of up to £30,000 or an unlimited fine.

In some cases legal notices such as Improvement Notices or Prohibition Orders may be required to address situations where the property presents an unacceptable level of risk to the health and wellbeing of the occupants. We reserve the right to charge for the service of these notices.

Occupants of a property that is unlicensed can apply for a Rent Repayment Order for a period of up to 12 months.


Full exemptions from the mandatory HMO licensing scheme are set out in schedule 14 of the Housing Act 2004 and associated regulations.
We may issue a three month temporary exemption notice (TEN) in the following circumstances:

  • the property is in the process of being sold
  • the owner has given the tenants notice and the property will be sold
  • the owner of the property is moving into the property
  • the property is in the process of being converted into a commercial premise
  • if a licence holder has died

We will consider TEN applications on a case by case basis.

Apply for a TEN

Search our TEN register

Public register

We are required to compile and maintain a public register of licensed properties and temporary exemption notices.

Planning permission

You might require planning permission if you intend to:

  • convert a house into flats
  • extend a property
  • alter the external appearance of an existing building
  • change the use from a single-family dwelling into an HMO

A rented property that is operating as an HMO must have the correct class of planning use. You may need to apply for planning permission to change it from C3 (dwelling house) to C4 (house in multiple occupation).

There is no guarantee that your planning application will be approved, but if you rent out your property you must have a property licence. If you are refused planning permission for an HMO but have applied and/or been issued with an additional or mandatory HMO licence, we cannot refund your licence fee.

Find out if you require planning permission.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a household?

A single household is made up of family members, a couple or a single person.

Although two unrelated adults that are not a couple or part of a family are separate households they are treated as a single household for the purposes of Property licensing.

Who is considered a family member?

A person is considered a member of the family of another person if:

  • he or she lives with that person as a couple
  • one of them is the relative of the other
  • or is a relative of one member of the couple.

and where:

  • couple means two people who are married to each other or live together as husband and wife or in an equivalent arrangement in the case of persons of the same sex
  • relative means a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or first cousin (where the first cousin is a child of a parent's sibling; a nephew or niece of a parent; a child of one's uncle or aunt; a person who shares common grandparents but not common parents)
  • a relationship of the half-blood is to be treated as a relationship of the whole blood
  • stepchild of a person is to be treated as his/her child

Who qualifies as an accredited landlord?

Any landlord or agent who is a current member of a national accreditation scheme such as NRLA, Safeagent, ARLA or a regional scheme such as ATLAS or equivalent.

What is an assisted application?

We will provide an assisted application service for a one off fee. The service includes assistance with measuring rooms, producing plans and completing the online application. Please contact us for further details.

Multi property licences?

Properties that are divided into self-contained flats and where each of the flats are rented and under one single freehold or leasehold ownership may be issued with a multi property licence.

The type of licence will depend on both where the property is located and the standard of conversion into self-contained flats.

  • Properties located anywhere in the borough that are poorly converted into flats will require an Additional licence (S257 HMO) for the common parts of the building.
  • Properties located anywhere apart from Finsbury Park ward, that are purpose built or where the standards of conversion meets with standard of the Building Regulations 1991 do not require a licence for the common parts of the building, although the individual flats may be licensable.
  • Properties located in the Finsbury Park ward that are purpose built or where the standards of conversion meets with standard of the Building Regulations 1991 will require a Selective licence to cover both the common parts and flats within the building.

What’s the position with student accommodation?

Student accommodation is exempt from HMO licensing where the accommodation is covered by one of the following Codes of Practice:

More information on this exemption

All other privately rented properties occupied by students are subject to property licensing provided they meet the criteria for one of three property licensing schemes. For large accommodation please contact the Property Licensing teams to discuss fees.

What will happen to properties licensed under the council’s previous Additional licensing scheme covering Holloway Road and Caledonian Road?

The previous Additional licensing scheme expired on 1 September 2020. All properties issued under this scheme will automatically be transferred to the new Borough wide Additional licensing scheme at no additional cost to the licence holder. Licences that are transferred will be valid for the period they were issued for (in most cases 5 years.)

What happens if I want to make changes to the property or number of occupants?

You can apply for a variation to the licence conditions. This might be if you have provided more bathroom or kitchen facilities or created additional bedrooms.
You may be liable for the cost of any additional rooms created.

What happens if I no longer require the licence?

If you no longer require the property licence e.g. as a result of selling the property or a change in the tenure such as an HMO now being let to a single household you can apply to have the licence revoked.

Please note licences are not transferable between people or companies and a new licence application will be required if the property still meets the criteria of one of the licensing schemes in operation.


Tel: 020 7527 3205

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