House in multiple occupation (HMO)

A House in Multiple Occupation is a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from the same ‘household’ (a single person or a family would be 1 household).   

Examples of HMOs include

  • Houses converted into non self contained flats or bedsits
  • Shared houses and flats
  • Bed and breakfast establishments & guesthouses where occupiers have no other accommodation
  • Hostels
  • Owner occupied houses with more than two lodgers
  • Houses converted into self contained flats (known as ‘Section 257’ HMOs)

There are some exceptions which include buildings owned by public bodies (e.g. housing associations)

Houses converted into flats are not Section 257 HMOs if they have been converted to certain building regulations or if two-thirds or more of the self-contained flats are owner-occupied.

Standards for houses in multiple occupation

The manager of an HMO is under a legal duty to ensure, amongst other things, that

  • smoke alarms are working and escape routes kept clear
  • gas safety and electrical safety checks are carried out
  • communal areas and shared facilities are clean and in good repair
  • there are enough rubbish bins/bags

The management regulations are here (or here for Section 257 HMOs)

View further guidance for tenants

We can inspect your property and take action to make sure that it is healthy, safe and meets standards. Contact us to report any issues caused by your landlord's property not meeting standards.

HMO licensing

Some HMOs (not Section 257s) require a licence.

A property needs a licence if it has 5 or more people who form more than 1 household (ie not all from 1 family)

Please note: A purpose-built flat situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats is not subject to mandatory licensing even if that flat is an HMO.

Make an application

Application to license a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Application to renew a licence for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Change the details on your current licence (ODT, 401KB).

You can find out the cost of an application for a HMO licence on our fees and charges webpage.

Useful information

Public Register

You can view a list of currently licenced HMOs via our public register.

Contact us

If you have any queries about HMOs or HMO licensing, please contact us at:

Phone: 01858 82 82 82