Landlord licensing - information for students


Some houses of multiple occupancy (HMO properties) that are rented privately in Liverpool must have a licence. This is required to show that the property meets a decent standard and the landlord is a ‘fit and proper person’.


There are two types of licence:


Mandatory licence

This covers all properties that are occupied by five or more tenants forming two or more unrelated households or groups (you are not all in the same family).

Selective licence

This covers every other type of property (there are some limited exceptions such as university owned accommodation or living as a lodger in someone’s home). An initial 5 year citywide selective licence scheme ran from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2020.

A second 5 year selective licensing scheme started on 1 April 2022, covering 16 wards in Liverpool. As such, whilst the majority of student properties are likely to be in these 16 wards, there will be some student properties that do not fall in this area, and therefore may not need a licence. You can use Liverpool City Council's
postcode look-up tool to check whether your student property is in a ward where a licence is needed.

In recognition of the importance of the service Liverpool Student Homes (LSH) offers in ensuring through the LSH Standards, the quality of student accommodation in Liverpool is raised and students are protected from poor housing conditions, Liverpool City Council has acknowledged LSH as an approved landlord association. As such, properties that have been fully LSH accredited can benefit from a discounted licence fee.

If the HMO you are living in is not licensed then Liverpool City Council can prosecute your landlord/agent as this is a criminal offence. Furthermore, if the prosecution is successful then the court can apply for a rent repayment order which could mean any rent you paid whilst the property was unlicensed can be returned to you.


To view the HMO licence guidance and licensing conditions, visit the HMO section of the Liverpool City Council website. You can also check if your property has a property licence on the councils licence register.


If you believe the property you are living in is unlicensed you can advise Liverpool City Council by email.