Houses in multiple occupation

What is multiple occupation?

Houses with multiple private tenants - standards and landlord obligations

Communities and Local Government website

The Housing Act 2004 defines what constitutes a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). 

A House in Multiple Occupation means a building (or part of a building, such as a flat), that:

  • Is occupied by 3 or more tenants, who form 2 or more households who share an amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities
  • Is occupied by more than one household and which is a converted building, but not entirely into self contained flats (whether or not some amenities are shared or lacking)
  • Is converted self contained flats, but does not meet as a minimum standard the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations, and at least one third of flats are occupied under short tenancies

Persons do not form a single household unless they are members of the same family or they form a prescribed relationship defined by regulations.  A household refers to:

  • Families / relatives, including single people, couples and same sex couples
  • Other relationships, such as fostering, carers and domestic staff

Examples of Properties that would be classed as Houses of Multiple Occupation:

  • Shared flats and houses
  • Bedsits
  • Hostels
  • Halls of residence for students or nurses
  • Boarding houses
  • Hotels or bed and breakfasts with permanent residents
  • Some supported accommodation, such as foyers or 'move on' accommodation for homeless people

All HMOs will be subject to inspections from us under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to ensure that they are free from hazards that could affect the health and safety of any occupants or visits.

Landlords operating certain types of HMOs will require a licence by law from us. For more information see 'Licensing of Housing in Multiple Occupation'.