Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
The Housing Act 2004 defines a House in Multiple Occupation
- An entire house or flat which is let to three or more
tenants who form two or more households and who share a
kitchen, bathroom or toilet; or
- A house which has been converted entirely into bedsits or other
non-self-contained accommodation and which is let to 3 or more
tenants who form two or more households and who share kitchen,
bathroom or toilet facilities; or
- A converted house which contains one or more flats which are
not wholly self contained (ie the flat does not contain within it a
kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by 3 or more
tenants who form two 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
the property must be used as the tenants’ only or main residence
and it should be used solely or mainly to house tenants. Properties
let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only
or main residence.
What is the Definition of a Household?
Members of the same family living together including:
- Couples married to each other or living together as husband and
wife (or couples in a same-sex relationship)
- Relatives living together, including parents, grandparents,
children (and step-children), grandchildren, brothers, sisters,
uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or cousins
- Half-relatives will be treated as full relatives.
- A foster child living with his foster parent is treated as
living in the same household as his foster parent.
- Any domestic staff (e.g. au-pair or live-in nanny)are also
included in the household if they are living rent-free in
accommodation provided by the person for whom they are
Therefore three friends sharing together are considered three
households. If a couple are sharing with a third person that would
consist of two households. If a family rents a property that is a
single household. If that family had an au-pair to look after their
children that person would be included in their household.
Properties where only two single, unrelated people live are not
Licensing Requirements of HMOs
The Housing Act 2004 introduced mandatory licensing of certain
Licensing is intended to monitor management and property
standards to ensure that landlords and
managers are carrying
out their legal responsibilities.
If the building is three or more storeys and is occupied by five
or more tenants forming at least 2 households, and the
households have to share a bathroom, kitchen or toilet, it will
require a licence.
The licence cannot be transferred to another person or property,
so if the owner sells the property, the new owner must apply for a
licence if they continue to operate the building as an
If you own and manage a
that needs a licence,
please download and complete the
Application Form here (PDF, 612KB). Please note that this
form is not accessible to users of assistive technology and needs
to be downloaded and completed by hand and returned to the Private Sector Housing team. Your
application must be accompanied by the correct HMO licence fee:
- HMO up to 6 habitable rooms - £472
- HMO up to 8 habitable rooms - £489
- HMO up to 10 habitable rooms - £511
- HMO 11 or more habitable rooms - £528
Habitable rooms are bedrooms and living spaces, but
exclude kitchens, bathrooms / WCs, under stairs cupboards,
pantries, halls and landings.
If you own or manage a
that does not require a
licence, more information is available on the
Standards page about the facilities and fire
safety standards that are required.
For information about fire safety requirements in
s, please read the LACORS
Fire Safety Guide available on our Fire
Planning Requirements for HMOs
Changes to planning law come into effect on 1st October 2010, so
that a planning application for change of use will not be needed
where a property is being changed from a family home to a
check whether your need planning permission for any changes you are
proposing, please refer to the Planning