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Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

A rented property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) if:

  • The property is the tenant's only or main residence
  • Occupants share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet, AND
  • There are three or more tenants who make up two or more households, OR
  • It is a building that is converted into self-contained flats and the conversion did not meet the 1991 Building Regulation standards and more than one-third of the flats are let on short term tenancies

The HMO could be:

  • An entire house or flat
  • A house which has been converted into bedsits or other non-self contained accommodation
  • A converted house which contains one or more flats that are not wholly self contained

Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence. The same will apply to properties which are used as domestic refuges.

Why does it matter?

The risk of management problems is usually higher in HMO's as they are let to several people. Therefore, there are management regulations that place additional duties on HMO owners, managers and tenants. Find out more about HMO management regulations.

What are the exceptions?

The following are not HMOs:

  • A property where the landlord and his household is resident with up to two tenants
  • A two-person flat share
  • A property or part of a property lived in by no more than two households each of which consists of only one person
  • Buildings occupied entirely by freeholders or long leaseholders
  • Buildings managed or controlled by a public body, such as the police or NHS, a local housing authority or registered social landlord
  • Buildings where the residential accommodation is not the main use of the building, such as religious buildings
  • Buildings which are already regulated (and where the description of the building is specified in regulations) such as care homes
  • Purpose built blocks of flats, unless any of the flats are shared by more than two tenants in two or more households

Do I need a licence?

An HMO needs a licence if it:

  • Is occupied by five or more persons living as more than one household
  • Facilities such as bathroom, living room and kitchen are shared by the occupants.

Licensed HMO's will appear on the register which is publicly available as required under the legislation.