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What is a HMO?

Information about a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

A privately rented property will be a HMO if:

  • it is occupied by three or more unrelated tenants forming two or more households and it is their main or only place of residence; and
  • the people living there share basic amenities - for example, a kitchen and/or bathroom

This includes properties which are:

  • a house split into separate bedsits;
  • a shared house or flat, where the sharers are not members of the same family regardless of the tenancy agreement;
  • a hostel;
  • shared accommodation for students;
  • the building was converted into self-contained flats and does not meet the 1991 Building Regulations;
  • the landlord lives at the property and rents out rooms. There may be exemptions, depending on the number of persons.  Further information can be obtained from the Housing Standards team. 

Note that a 'household' can be a single person or certain members of the same family who live together. The Housing Standards team can provide guidance on what constitutes a family. For further information, see Housing Act 2004, S258.

For further information on what defines a HMO, see the Housing Act 2004, s254.

If you are unsure whether your property is a HMO, you can check with the Housing Standards team: