Additional subletting requirements set by the Council

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council has introduced a number of additional requirements depending on where the leasehold property is located and how it is let to tenants.


To find out more on if your leasehold property is subject to these additional requirements visit the council’s website - Click here


Below is a summary of the additional requirements set by the Council:


1. Landlord Licensing Scheme


The Council has introduced a Landlord Licensing Scheme that came into force on 1st October 2018.


Currently the scheme operates within three of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets wards. These are:

  • Spitalfields and Banglatown
  • Weavers
  • Whitechapel


The scheme applies to all private landlords renting properties to tenants within the selective licensing area and requires all landlords to obtain a licence from the council before a property can be rented out in these areas.


2. House in multiple occupation (HMO)


A HMO is a house or a flat which is occupied by three of more unrelated persons, who do not form a single household. A HMO will also share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. It’s sometimes called a ‘house share’.


A HMO could be a:

  • house split into separate bedsits
  • shared house or flat, where the sharers are not members of the same family
  • hostel
  • bed-and-breakfast hotel that is not just for holidays
  • shared accommodation for students – although many halls of residence and other types of student  accommodation owned by educational establishments are not classed as HMOs.


i. Mandatory HMO licensing criteria


You must have a licence if you’re renting out a large HMO. Your property is defined as a large HMO if all of the following apply.


  • all HMOs with 5 or more occupiers living in 2 or more households regardless of the number of storeys. Effectively this means the storey requirement will be removed from the current definition


  • self-contained flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both of the flats are occupied by 5 or more persons in 2 or more separate households. This will apply regardless of whether the block is above or below commercial premises.


This will bring certain flats above shops on high streets within mandatory licensing as well as small blocks of flats which are not connected to commercial premises.


As is the case now, it is the individual HMO that is required to be licensed and not the building within which the HMO is situated. This means that where a building has two flats and each is occupied by 5 persons living in 2 or more households, each flat will require a separate HMO licence.


ii. Additional Licensing Scheme


In April 2019, the council introduced an ‘Additional’ licensing scheme for multi-occupied premises under the provisions within the Housing Act 2004. This Additional Licensing Scheme will cover the whole borough excluding the current Selective licensing designation - Spitalfields and Banglatown, Weavers and Whitechapel wards (pre-2014 wards).


The Additional Licensing Scheme is the extension of the HMO licensing above and will include all properties with 3 or more tenants forming 2 or more different households irrespective of the property type i.e. it is to include all flats and houses.


If any of the above licensing requirements apply to you, you must obtain a license. If you fail to obtain a relevant license, you may be subject to rent payment orders, loss of eviction powers and unlimited fines.


For any license related queries, leaseholders can contact the Health and Housing team on 020 7364 5008 or via email at