Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

What is a HMO?

A property is a HMO if it is let as a main or only home to at least three tenants, who form more than one household and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.

A household consists of either a single person or members of the same family who live together, including:

  • People who are married or living together
  • People in same-sex relationships
  • Relatives who are living together - including step-children, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins and foster children
  • Certain live-in domestic staff such as au pairs, nannies, nurses or other carers, gardeners, chauffeurs, servants (if certain conditions are met)

If you are a tenant in shared accommodation, you may live in an HMO. These properties can be an entire house, flat or converted building or any of the following:

  • Bedsits
  • Shared houses
  • Households with a lodger
  • Purpose-built HMOs
  • Hostels
  • Guesthouses - if rented out of season
  • Bed and breakfasts providing accommodation for homeless people
  • Some types of self-contained flats converted from houses

Does an HMO need a licence?

An HMO must have a licence if it is:

  • Of three or more storeys
  • Occupied by five or more persons who form more than one household

Last updated: 11 October 2017