London Borough of Hillingdon

If you need help understanding the property licensing rules in Hillingdon you have come to the right place! We are experts in housing regulation and have produced this free guide to help you understand the council’s property licensing schemes.

If you find that you need a licence for your rented property our support doesn’t end there. Our Landlord Suppliers Directory (view here) lists companies that offer a licence application handling service. You can also find companies offering a wide range of other goods and services to help you manage your property portfolio and achieve compliance.

To help set the scene, the London Borough of Hillingdon is in west London covering an area of 42 square miles. This outer London borough is bordered by the boroughs of Harrow, Ealing and Hounslow to the east and adjoins the counties of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire to the west. According to the 2011 Census about 18% of the housing stock was privately rented which is lower than the London average of 25% (1 in 4). 

Licensing Requirements

Do I need a licence to rent out my property?

You do not need a licence if you rent your property to a single family as Hillingdon Council do not operate a selective licensing scheme.

If you rent out your property as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), the answer is a bit more complicated. Hillingdon Council operates the mandatory HMO licensing scheme that applies throughout England. There was an additional licensing scheme but that ended in November 2020.

Mandatory HMO licensing

You will need a mandatory HMO licence if your property meets the standard test, self-contained flat test or converted building test HMO definition in section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 and is occupied by five or more people.

But what are these tests and what does this mean in practice? It means you need a licence for any house or flat that is occupied by five or more people who are not all related and live in the property as their main home. For example, it includes:

  • Shared houses and flats occupied by students and young professionals;
  • Properties converted into bedsits with some shared facilities; and
  • Properties converted into a mixture of self-contained and non self-contained accommodation.

Prior to 1 October 2018, the mandatory HMO licensing scheme only applied to properties that were three or more storeys in height, but that restriction has now been lifted.

The government have decided to exclude purpose built self-contained flats within a block comprising three or more self-contained flats from the mandatory HMO licensing scheme. While this will be good news for some landlords, it does make the licensing scheme far more complicated.

To find out more, you can read our free guide to mandatory HMO licensing (here).

How much does a licence cost?

The council charge a standard application fee of £1,502 (was £1,155 in 2022/23, £1,100 in 2021/22, £980 in 2020/21) per property for new licence applications. The fee for licence renewals is the same.

Both fees are payable in two instalments.

Unfortunately, in September 2015, Hillingdon Council told us that they had withdrawn the discount for accredited landlords, which we think is a shame.

The fees we’ve listed were correct as of May 2023 but could be subject to change in the future. You can view the fees in full on the council’s website.

How do I apply for a licence?

You can apply online for an HMO licence via the council’s website.

If you need assistance with your licence application, you can find companies offering a licence application handling service in our Landlord Suppliers Directory (here). Whilst we do handle some applications, we have limited capacity and specialise in more complex cases where we provide our clients with expert advice and assistance.

It is important to remember that submitting your licence application is only the start of the licence approval process. To help landlords understand what happens next, we have published a free guide here.

Are there any standards I need to comply with?

Yes, the Hillingdon HMO standards can be downloaded from the council’s website.

The standards cover a range of issues such as kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities, fire precautions, heating, lighting and ventilation.

It is important to note that new absolute minimum bedroom sizes for licensed HMOs have been introduced for HMO licence applications approved on or after 1 October 2018:

  • 4.64m2 for a child under 10 years old
  • 6.51m2 for one person over 10 years old
  • 10.22m2 for two people over 10 years old

The council can still ask for larger minimum sizes. These new minimum sizes apply throughout England to HMOs licensed under a mandatory HMO or additional licensing scheme.

How many properties has the Council licensed?

As of July 2015, Hillingdon Council said they had licensed 153 HMOs under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme and 362 HMOs under the additional licensing scheme – so 515 properties licensed in total.

By March 2016, the number of licensed properties had risen to 228 HMOs under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme and 613 HMOs under the additional licensing scheme – so 841 properties licensed in total, an increase of 326 in the last 8 months.

In August 2018 we found there were 313 licensed HMOs listed in the public register on the council’s website.

In May 2019, the council told us there were 413 licensed HMOs and a further 103 applications being processed.

In November 2020, we found there were just 195 licensed HMOs listed in the public register on the council’s website. 

In May 2023, there were 721 licensed HMOs listed in the public register.

Hillingdon Council keeps a public register of all licensed properties that is regularly updated. The public register can be viewed on the council’s website and then click on ‘View the HMO register’.

Are there lots of unlicensed properties still out there?

In May 2019, the council told us they estimate there were 2,500 licensable HMOs in the borough, so there could be one thousand or more HMOs operating illegally without a licence.

What happens if I don’t get a licence?

Ignore the law and you could pay a heavy price. You risk being prosecuted by the council and if found guilty you could get a criminal record, be fined an unlimited amount and ordered to pay court costs and a victim surcharge.

Alternatively, the council can issue you with a civil penalty notice of up to £30,000 for not having the correct licence without any warning being given, so this is really serious stuff.  

You could also be subject to a Rent Repayment Order and may have to repay up to 12 months rental income.

Whilst the property is unlicensed, you can’t use a Notice of Seeking Possession under Section 21 Housing Act 1988 to evict your tenants. 
And following a successful prosecution, you would probably fail a fit and proper person assessment, making it very difficult for you to obtain a property licence in the future.

Don’t put your livelihood and reputation at risk. Make sure you comply with the law.

Does the Council take much housing enforcement action?

In London, most boroughs publish information about housing prosecutions and civil financial penalties on the Mayor of London’s ‘Rogue landlord and agent checker’. You can search the database by entering a property address, landlord / agent name or by selecting the relevant borough, available here.

How many accredited landlords are there?

There are landlord accreditation schemes operated by the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) and other organisations. 

Whilst we don’t have any figures for the NRLA scheme, we have got information about the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme that is supported by all the London Boroughs. In January 2016, they told us there were 423 accredited landlords in Hillingdon, which was below average when compared to all London boroughs.

January 2018: 467 accredited landlords
January 2019: 486 accredited landlords
January 2020: 539 accredited landlords
January 2021: 587 accredited landlords
January 2022: 726 accredited landlords

By January 2023 there were 966 accredited landlords which is well below average when compared to all the London boroughs. To find out more about becoming accredited, you can visit the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme website here.

In addition to training and development, accredited landlords are entitled to various benefits, including discounted licensing fees in some boroughs. If you are not already a member, we would encourage you to think about joining!

Is the Council planning to introduce any new licensing schemes?

We are not aware of plans to introduce new additional and/or selective licensing schemes in Hillingdon, although the situation could be subject to change. For all the latest news, you are welcome to sign up to our free newsletter.

Do I need planning permission for my HMO?

You will need planning permission if you are changing your property from a single-family property to a house in multiple occupation (HMO) occupied by more than six people. HMOs occupied by more than six people fall within ‘sui-generis’ use for which planning permission is required. You will also need planning permission if you a splitting up a property into smaller self-contained units of accommodation.

For small HMOs, the rules are a bit more complicated. HMOs occupied and shared by between three and six people fall into planning use class C4 whereas single-family properties fall into planning use class C3.

In September 2016, we checked with Hillingdon Council who told us there is a HMO Article 4 Direction covering the Brunel and Uxbridge South Council wards. It came into force on 24 March 2013 and it removes the permitted development rights to change a property from a single-family house (use class C3) to an HMO occupied by up to six people (use class C4) without planning permission.

So from that date, even letting your property to three people who are not all related could require planning permission if it is within the Brunel or Uxbridge South Council Wards.

You can download a copy of the Article 4 Direction from the ‘More Information’ box on the right of this page. Information is also available on the council’s website.

Remember that this is only intended as general advice and no liability can be accepted for any reliance upon information provided. We would strongly encourage you to contact the Council’s Planning Department or seek independent legal advice before you start a new HMO development. 

Can you help me find the goods and services I need?

We certainly can. We understand the challenges of being a private landlord and so we have developed a Landlord Suppliers Directory to provide you with access to the goods and services you need. The Directory concentrates on businesses that operate in the London area.

Whether you a looking for a letting agent, want a property inventory for a new tenancy or fire risk assessment, we have got it covered – and far more besides!

As the leading experts in property licensing, we also offer a range of services ourselves. From handling the licence application process to advice on new HMO developments, we can help to ensure your property business remains compliant. If you need assistance, please drop us a line and see if we can help! 

New suppliers are regularly being added and we would encourage you to take a look. Some of our featured listings also contain YouTube videos, helping you to find out more about the business. 

How do I find out more?

You can contact the council at: 

Private Sector Housing Team
Hillingdon Council
Civic Centre
High Street
Middlesex UB8 1UW

Tel: 01895 556 666

Latest News


There is currently no consultations for the London Borough of Hillingdon 


There is currently no schemes for the London Borough of Hillingdon 



At a Glance

Licence Overview

In Hillingdon, mandatory HMO licensing applies borough wide but there are no additional or selective licensing schemes.

Contacting the Council

Tel: 01895 556 666
Weblink: Hillingdon property licensing