Last edited 01 Oct 2018

House in multiple occupation



[edit] Overview

According to, a house in multiple occupation (HMO) is:

… a property rented out by at least three people who are not from one ‘household’ (e.g. a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. It’s sometimes called a ‘house share’.

An HMO is defined as ‘large’ if:

  • It is rented to five or more people who form more than one household.
  • It is at least three storeys high.
  • Tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.

Landlords must have a licence from the local authority if they are renting out a HMO. A licence is valid for up to five years. Unlimited fines can be imposed where an HMO is not licensed.

Landlords must:

  • Ensure the house is suitable for the number of occupants (size and facilities).
  • Ensure the manager of the house is considered to be ‘fit and proper’ (i.e. there is no criminal record, or breach of landlord laws or code of practice).
  • Send the council an updated gas safety certificate every year.
  • Install and maintain smoke alarms.
  • Provide safety certificates for all electrical appliances when requested.

The council may add other conditions when they consider an application. If landlords disagree with any conditions they can appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal.

HMOs (described as ‘houses in multiple paying occupation’) fall within the sui generis planning use class. ‘Sui generisbuildings are those that do not fall within any particular use class. The Latin term 'sui generis' means ‘of its own kind’.

See Sui generis for more information.

Minimum room sizes and other restrictions apply to HMOs. See Minimum room size for more information.

[edit] Updates

In October 2018, following legislation introduced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in September 2018, new rules came into force affecting landlords of HMOs.

Previously, only 'large HMOs' (i.e. those of more than three storeys and with five or more people forming at least two households) had to be licensed by the local housing authority. This threshold was removed by the new rules, extending the mandatory licensing of HMOs to smaller properties.

This is expected to increase the number of HMOs needing to be licensed from around 64,000 to 160,000. The government said the new rules would raise housing standards for tenants, in addition to new rules setting minimum size requirements for HMO bedrooms to tackle rogue landlords and overcrowding. However, the National Landlords Association (NLA) warned that tenants could face eviction or rent increases as a result of certification costs to landlords.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

[edit] External references