Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

What is an HMO?

According to the Housing Act 2004 a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a building, or part of a building, that is occupied by persons who do not form a single household - in other words, are not family members.

Here are some examples:

  • a house converted into three or more bedsits
  • a house converted into self-contained flats where more than a third of the flats are rented AND the flats were not converted in accordance with the 1991 Building Regulations
  • a house occupied by three friends who rent from a private landlord
  • a house let to a group of four students
  • a flat with three or more bedsits (even if the flats were converted in accordance with the 1991 Building Regulations and less than a third of the flats in the building are rented)
  • a rented or part-rented house occupied by a married couple and a friend

All HMOs are subject to The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) Regulations, whether they require a licence or not. Please read the next page to see when an HMO requires a licence. To see what duties the regulations place on managers and occupiers of HMOs please read the GOV.UK HMO guide for landlords and managers.

If you are unsure and want to know if a property is an HMO please contact us using the details below.

Planning permission

The Town and Country Planning Order 1987 defines certain dwellings as:

  • Use Class C3 when occupied by families or fewer than three unrelated people
  • Use Class C4 when they are HMOs occupied by between three and six unrelated persons

Planning permission may be required from us to change the use of a dwelling from one Class to the other. You can read more on our planning permission pages or to discuss this please contact our Planning team using the details below.