What the three types of property licence are, where we have licensing schemes running, and the standards and conditions of each licence.

There are three types of private property licences:

  • mandatory house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence
  • additional HMO licence
  • selective licence

Fill in the online application form if you're not sure if you need a licence or which type.

Well ask you some questions about your property to find out which licence you need before you continue to the main part of the application form.

Terms used

What an HMO is

Your property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:

  • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • there are shared facilities such as toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

What a household is

A household is a separate individual, co-habiting couple or a family. A family includes parents, grandparents, children (including foster children, stepchildren and children being cared for), grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or cousins. 

For example, five friends are five households, even if they share a tenancy, and a co-habiting couple and a friend would constitute two households.

Property inspections

We inspect all registered properties at least once within the licence period (usually 5 years) to check they comply with the standards and conditions. The inspection will involve an officer visiting the property and conducting several checks.

Mandatory HMO licence

You need a mandatory HMO licence if youre renting out a property that has:

  • five or more people from two or more households
  • shared toilets, bathrooms or cooking facilities

This means that houses, flats or converted flats on any number of storeys are licensable.

Additional HMO licence

Additional licensing applies to HMOs in areas of the city where we've declared additional licensing schemes.

It applies to privately rented flats or houses, where 3 or 4 unrelated people live in 2 or more households and share some basic facilities.

Selective licence

Selective licensing applies to non-HMO properties in areas of the city where we've declared selective licensing schemes.

Current declared licensing schemes

Additional HMO licence scheme: Central Bristol

From 8 July 2019 to 2024 all privately rented HMOs in the Central Bristol area will require a licence under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004 Go to https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/part/2 (opens new window)

See the:

The Central Bristol licensing scheme covers the 12 wards:

  • Ashley
  • Bishopston and Ashley Down
  • Central
  • Clifton
  • Clifton Down
  • Cotham
  • Easton
  • Hotwells and Harbourside
  • Lawrence Hill
  • Redland
  • Southville
  • Windmill Hill   

Additional HMO licensing scheme and selective licensing scheme: Bedminster and Brislington West wards

A new licensing scheme came into effect on 6 April 2022 and most privately rented properties will need to be licensed in these wards except those Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) already covered by mandatory licensing.

In Bedminster and Brislington West wards, additional and selective licensing will apply.

Additional HMO licensing scheme: Horfield ward

In the Horfield ward an additional licensing scheme will come into effect. Most privately rented HMOs will need an additional licence from 6 April 2022, if not already covered by mandatory licensing.

pdf Declaration for the Bedminster, Brislington West and Horfield schemes. (122 KB)