Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

What is a HMO?

A property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:

  • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than one household
  • Toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared with other tenants

A property is a large HMO if both of the following apply:

  • at least five tenants live there, forming more than one household
  • Toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared with other tenants

A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:

  • married or living together - including people in same-sex relationships
  • relatives or half-relatives, for example grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
  • step-parents and step-children

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?

A property is a licensable HMO if it:

  • has 5 or more unrelated people live in it
  • has 2 or more separate households living there

Licensing also applies to blocks of purpose-built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both are occupied as an HMO.

Last updated: 10 October 2019