Toggle menu

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property occupied by three or more persons from two or more households.

A household could be a family, cohabiting couple or separate individuals.  A household could be a single person or persons related to each other.

The definition of an HMO is technically complex. As well as multiple people sharing a house, an HMO can also be a building converted entirely into self-contained flats.

This link from provides a brief summary: Houses in Multiple Occupation.

HMOs are subject to higher standards of safety and management than typical family homes and if you rent out a property as an HMO which has 5 or more occupants you may have to apply to the Council for a licence.

Does my HMO require a licence?

Not all HMO's require a licence. From the 1st October 2018, HMOs with 5 or more people sharing facilities require a licence regardless of the number of storeys.  This includes houses, flats and converted flats.  A purpose built flat in a block with 5 occupants will also require a licence if there are less than 3 flats in the building. For further information see the HMO Guidance for Local Housing Authorities.

Visit our HMO Licensing page for guidance on which properties need a licence, how to apply, how much it costs and the conditions and standards that are required.

If your property requires a licence you should apply now.  If you are unsure, please contact us to confirm.  

If you suspect an HMO is not licensed when it should be, visit the Report an Unlicensed HMO page.

Management of HMOs

If you manage an HMO you must comply with the regulations.  Our HMO Management page provides more information on the legal requirements

HMO standards and conditions

HMOs are higher risk than typical family homes and therefore require higher standards to be achieved; licensable HMOs require even higher standards. 

Our HMO Standards and Conditions page provides further information.

Further information

Contact the Private Sector Housing Team by email: or call 0300 303 8588.