Houses in multiple occupation

What is a house in multiple occupation?

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is outlined under sections 254 and 257 of the Housing Act 2004. An HMO is a building or part of a building, such as a flat, that is:

  • occupied by three or more people from more than one household, and where those people share one or more basic feature, such as a toilet, bathroom or cooking area
  • occupied by more than one household in a converted building where not all the flats are self-contained, for example, features such as the kitchen, bathroom and toilet are behind the entrance door to the flat
  • a converted building made up of entirely of self-contained flats, but the conversion building work does not meet the conditions of the Building Regulations 1991, and less than two thirds of the flats are owner-occupied

To be classified as an HMO, the property must be lived in by more than one household:

  • as their only or main residence
  • as a refuge
  • for any other purpose as described in regulations

Larger shared houses occupied by five or more people will be required to have a licence. Further information about HMO licensing can be found in this section, or on our licensing pages.

HMO management regulations and Amenity Standards

All HMOs (even those that do not need a licence) will need to comply to HMO standards as outlined below, as well as following safety guidelines,.

It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with these regulations. It is important for managers of HMOs to become familiar with these conditions.

The council has written an Amenity and Facilities Standards for HMOs. This can be used to review the conditions for licenced HMOs and can also provide guidance for non-licensable HMOs.