Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are generally houses or flats split into bedsits, shared accommodation such as student houses or a building converted into self-contained flats. Typically occupants share bathrooms and or kitchens.
A HMO could be:
- A house or flat which is occupied by 3 or more people who form 2 or more households, and who share any of kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities or;
- A house or flat which has been converted entirely into bedsits or other non-self-contained accommodation, which is occupied by 3 or more people who form 2 or more households, and who share any of kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities or;
- A converted house which contains a mix of self-contained and non self-contained accommodation (for example a flat within the house does not contain a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by 3 or more people who form 2 or more households or;
- A building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats if the conversion did not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one-third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies.
To be an HMO, the property must be used as the tenants' only or main residence. Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence. Some types of property are not classified as an HMO. This includes an owner occupier who lives with family members and up to 2 lodgers, accommodation such as care homes and children's homes, some registered students halls, and property managed by the council, social landlords and public bodies. It is always best to contact the council if you are unsure about whether or not an exemption applies.
Mandatory HMO Licensing
Some HMOs will also require a licence from the council if the property meets the following criteria:
- occupied by five or more people, forming two or more households; AND
- tenants share facilities such as kitchen or bathrooms
- flats in purpose built blocks of 3 or more units will be exempt.
It is an offence to not to have a licence for a property which requires one. The council may issue a civil penalty of up to £30, 000 or consider prosecuting the property owner/manager. Tenants may also apply to have their rent re-paid to them via the property tribunal. Up to 12 months rent may need to be returned.
Further information and apply for a HMO
Public register of approved HMO licences
View a public register of HMO licences.