Last edited 30 Oct 2020

Hostel definition

A hostel is a form of house in multiple occupation (HMO). That is, ‘… a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (eg a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. For more information see house in multiple occupation.

Hostels, specifically, are generally non-self-contained, and cater for an identifiable group of people, such as students, travellers, people who would otherwise be homeless and so on. They tend to be low-cost and may be self-catering, or may provide meals.

Hostels fall within the sui generis use class for the purposes of planning permission, meaning they do not fall within any other particular use class.

The Housing Benefits regulations define a hostel as a building with domestic accommodation, other than separate and self-contained accommodation, where board or facilities for the preparation of food are provided and which is:

  • Managed or owned by a registered housing association; or
  • Run on a non-commercial basis with some central or local government funding; or
  • Managed by a voluntary organisation/charity providing care, support or supervision assisting people being rehabilitated or resettled within the community.

This does not include care homes or independent hospitals.

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