Exemptions from HMO Licensing

Where a person having control of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) that should be licensed but is not notifies the local authority of their intention to take steps to take the house out of the licensable criteria, the local authority may serve a temporary exemption notice [1]. If a temporary exemption notice is served by the local authority, the HMO no longer has to be licensed.

The temporary exemption notice lasts for three months from the date on which it was served. On receipt of a further notification from the person having control, a second temporary exemption notice can be served (lasting for three months from the date when the first expires). No more than two temporary exemption notices can be served.

The local authority can decide not to serve a temporary exemption notice, but must notify the person affected with a notice of the decision and reasons without delay. There is a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) [2].


The local authority may revoke an HMO licence [3]:

  • by agreement with the licence holder, e.g. if the house is converted to a single dwelling
  • if the licence holder has committed a serious breach, or repeated breaches, of a condition
  • if the local authority considers the licence holder or manager no longer ‘fit and proper’, or
  • if the local authority believes the HMO no longer meets the standards required for a licence (judged by the standards applicable at the time the licence was granted unless the standards prescribed in regulations have been revised).

A revocation can be made by agreement or on the local authority’s initiative. If by agreement, it becomes effective immediately; otherwise it does not come into force until the time for making an appeal has elapsed or the appeal procedure has been completed.

The procedure for dealing with revocations (other than by agreement) is similar to variations with a notice of intention, 14-day consultation period, and notices containing the date of the decision and reasons with appeal provisions. Similar provisions apply where the local authority proposes to refuse to revoke a licence.

The information on this page applies only to England.

[1] s.62 Housing Act 2004.

[2] Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Property Chamber) Rules 2013 SI 2013/1169; the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (Chambers) (Amendment) Order 2013 SI 2013/1187.

[3] s.70 Housing Act 2004.

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