What is classed as a house in multiple occupation?
Your home is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:
- at least three tenants live there, forming more than one household
- you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants
By law, landlords have to provide additional fire safety provisions and maintain common parts, fixtures, fittings and appliances. Properties also have to be free from hazards under the housing health and safety scheme (HHSRS).
Some types of HMO, because of their size, are classed as having increased safety risks and must be licensed by us.
Your property needs a licence if all the following apply:
- it’s at least three storeys high
- at least five tenants live there, forming more than one household
- tenants share facilities such as a toilet, bathroom or kitchen
These HMOs must also comply with our amenity standards. You should contact us if you're a landlord or tenant of a large HMO and you don't think it's licensed.
From 1 October 2018, changes to the Housing Act 2004 extend mandatory licensing to include any House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) occupied by 5 or more people in 2 or more households, where householders lack or share bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities, which is:
- a house converted entirely into bedsits or other non self-contained accommodation
- a converted house containing one or more flats
- 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 a third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies
- a building subject to a ‘HMO Declaration’ under section 255, Housing Act 2004
The following conditions must also be met:
- the floor area of any room in a HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51m²
- the floor area of any room in a HMO used as sleeping accommodation by two people aged over 10 years is not less than 10.22m²
- the floor area of any room in a HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged under 10 years is not less than 4.64m²
- any room in a HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64m² is not used as sleeping accommodation
- landlords of licensed HMOs comply with any relevant local authority waste scheme relating to the storage and disposal of household waste at the HMO pending collection
Floor area with a ceiling height of less than 1.5m cannot be counted in any total floor area calculation. A room is used as sleeping accommodation if it is normally used as a bedroom, whether or not it is also used for other purposes.
Where a breach is found to exist regarding room sizes, local authorities will be able to grant a period not exceeding 18 months to rectify the situation.
Apply for a licence
Register of licensed HMOs
We maintain a public register of all HMO licences.