Houses in Multiple Occupation

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property that is shared by three or more tenants who are not members of the same family. HMO landlords must have a licence from the local council housing department. This ensures that the property is managed properly and meets certain safety standards. The licence will be valid for up to three years and will then have to be renewed.

Houses in multiple occupation may include:

  • Houses converted into self-contained flats, each occupied by a single household
  • Shared houses and bedsit houses
  • Shared flats
  • Houses containing a mixture of flats in single occupation and bedsits
  • Hostels,
  • Hotels and boarding houses


All housing is subject to the Housing Act 2004 and this includes HMOs. The Act is enforced by the local housing authority which, in most cases, will be the local council housing department. It is also important to understand that other pieces of fire safety legislation can be applied to HMOs.

Fire Safety in new and altered HMOs, flats and maisonettes is subject to local authority building regulations.

Contact your local authority for further information.





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