Goadsby Knowledge Hub

Houses in Multiple Occupation

Updated: 3 December 2021

We are often asked about the classification of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).  

We hope you find the following helpful.

What is an HMO:

3 or more people
Comprising 2 or more households
With shared amenities
Can be a flat and/or bedsit
Only or main residence

What is classified as a ‘Household’:

Family: couple, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or cousin
Includes fostering, stepchild and ‘a relationship of the half-blood will be treated as a relationship of the whole blood’
Domestic employees and/or carers

Social housing
Boarding schools, prisons, accommodation centres and care homes
Religious communities
Halls of Residence controlled by a University
Where occupied by an owner-occupier and no more than 2 licensees
Temporary Exemption Notice or a Management Order

Mandatory HMO Licensing

5 or more people comprising 2 or more households
Children are not included in the above number

Additional and Selective Licensing

Additional – Lowers licensable HMO criteria
Selective – All private rented properties
Can be across all of council, one area or several areas

Article 4 Directions

Planning permission is required to turn a single property into a HMO
Criteria is set by the Local authority
Take advice if turning an HMO back into a single-dwelling

HMO Standards

The following is for guidance only and must not be regarded as an exhaustive list of the all the standards which need to be adhered to.

Contact details must be provided to each household and these must be displayed 
Escape routes must be maintained
Water supply and drainage must be maintained
Annual Gas Safety checks carried out 
Maintenance of the common parts and installations as well as the internal structure and installations
Provide adequate waste storage facilities
Adhere to the minimum room sizes
Include heating, washing facilities, kitchen facilities and equipment and fire safety

It should be noted that Amenity Standards are set by the Government but local authorities can add their own


The penalties for non-compliance are severe so it is vital that you take professional advice before venturing down the HMO route, however, fully compliant HMO’s get premium rents and are desirable especially in University towns and cities.



Residential Lettings

Sub Categories:

How To Guides


Mark Sanderson

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