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What is an HMO

Find out what an HMO is, and how they’re managed

What is an HMO?

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are properties rented out to three or more people who:

  • do not form the same household*
  • share facilities such as a bathroom or kitchen

*A household can be a single person or members of the same family living together.

There are other HMOs, including buildings converted into flats. For more information, see the GOV.UK website.

Please note; the criteria we use when deciding whether to licence an HMO is different to the HMO definition above. To check if you need a licence, please visit our apply for an HMO page.

HMO legislation and standards

All HMOs are subject to higher than usual standards relating to health and safety and fire safety. There is legislation which sets out rules that HMO’s must follow, including:

  • providing and maintaining fire safety equipment
  • supplying and maintaining electricity, water, drainage and (where available) gas services
  • providing waste disposal facilities
  • maintaining a good repair, and a clean and decorative order
  • providing and displaying contact details to all tenants or occupiers

These rules are set out in full in the:

It’s a criminal offence not to comply with these regulations. The penalties are:

  • prosecution which carries an unlimited fine
  • a civil penalty fine of up to £30,000

To find out more about safety standards in HMO’s, please see our HMO standards page.

Apply for an HMO

To apply for an HMO licence, please see our apply for a licence page.