Houses in Multiple Occupation

What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?

An HMO is a house or flat that is occupied as a main residence, by more than one household, where occupiers share facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms and WCs. This would include, for example, houses containing bedsits, a combination of bedsits and self-contained flats where the bedsits share facilities, and also shared houses and hostels.

In addition, houses entirely converted into self-contained flats not in strict compliance with the Building Regulations 1991, with at least one third occupied as flats on short tenancies is classed as an HMO.

Which types of HMO need a licence?

Nationally, HMOs comprising of three or more storeys, occupied by five or more people, in two or more households, must obtain a licence. This is a mandatory requirement of the government.

If you are unsure of the status of your property, please contact the Private Sector Housing Team using the contact details on this page.

Are any properties exempt?

Certain types of property are exempt from licensing, and these are:

  • Local authority-owned properties, whether freehold or leasehold
  • Properties owned or managed by public bodies, such as registered social landlords, Health Service bodies or police authorities, and properties regulated by other legislation, for instance care homes, children's homes and bail houses
    Should you require further information please contact the Private Sector Housing Renewal Team.


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