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Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO)

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is defined as a building, or part of a building which:

  • more than 1 household lives in and shares an amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities
  • is a converted building where more than 1 household lives and does not entirely comprise of self-contained flats (whether or not there is also a sharing or lack of amenities)
  • comprises entirely of converted self-contained flats and the standard of conversion does not meet, at a minimum, that required by the 1991 Building Regulation and more than one third of the flats are occupied under short tenancies, (known as Section 257 HMO's).

And is 'occupied' by more than 1 household:

  • as their only or main residence
  • as a refuge by persons escaping domestic violence
  • during term time by students
  • for some other purpose that is prescribed in regulations.

And the households comprises of:

  • families (including single persons and co-habiting couples (whether or not of the opposite sex)
  • any other relationship that may be prescribed by regulations, such as domestic staff or fostering or carer arrangements.

If your property is an HMO you may need a licence to rent it out. A separate licence is required for each property. You must also reapply if you licence has expired.

You should apply even if you are unsure as you may be fined if you do not have a reasonable excuse.


Mandatory HMO licence

It is a legal requirement that a landlord must have a licence for a privately rented HMO if the property being rented out:

  • is occupied by 5 people or more
  • those people form 2 or more households
  • tenants share some amenities like kitchen, bathroom or laundry.

Apply for an HMO licence

Smaller HMO's (those occupied by 3 or 4 persons in 2 or more households) do not require a licence.

An HMO licence will be granted by us and is different from planning permission and building control approval which may also be required.

Properties required to be licensed must meet our HMO standards (PDF) [241KB] .

View  HMO standards guidance (PDF) [217KB] .


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