Houses in multiple occupation mandatory licensing

The scope of mandatory licensing includes all rented properties with five or more unrelated people occupying it, who share facilities such as a kitchen, toilet or bathroom.

You must make sure that:

  • the house is suitable for the number of occupants (e.g. size and facilities)
  • the manager of the house - you or an agent - is considered to be 'fit and proper', e.g. no criminal record, or breach of landlord laws or code of practice

You can download the application form form the documents section below, complete and sign it, then post it with the necessary documentation and the fee (£900 for up to 10 lets and then £30 per let, thereafter) to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. You can also make the payment by debit or credit card by ringing 01254 585457.

The licence

The licence will specify the maximum number of people who may live in the HMO. It will also include conditions concerning the following, which apply to every licence:

  • A valid current gas safety record, which is renewed annually, must be provided
  • All electrical appliances and furniture are kept in a safe condition
  • All smoke alarms are correctly positioned and installed
  • Each occupier must have a written statement of the terms on which they occupy the property, for example, a tenancy agreement

The Council may also apply additional conditions :

  • Restrictions or prohibitions on the use of parts of the HMO by occupants
  • requiring the taking of reasonable and practicable steps to prevent or reduce anti-social behaviour by persons occupying or visiting the house
  • requiring that the condition of the property, its contents, such as furniture and all facilities and amenities, bathroom and toilets for example, are kept in repair and in good working order
  • requiring specified works or repairs to be carried out within a particular timeframe
  • A requirement that the licence holder or manager attends an approved training course


It is an offence if the landlord or person in control of the property:

  • Fails to apply for a licence for a licensable property or;
  • Allows a property to be occupied by more people than are permitted under the licence.

An unlimited fine may be imposed (was previously £20,000) or a civil penalty fine of up to £30,000.

In addition, breaking any of the licence conditions can result in a fine of up to £5,000 per condition or a civil penalty fine of up to £30,000.

Please see the civil penalty protocol below for more details.