Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)
What is a house in multiple occupation?
Under the Housing Act 2004, the following types of property are all defined as houses in multiple occupation (HMO):
- An entire house or flat which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
- A house which has been converted entirely into bedsits or other non-self-contained accommodation and which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and who share kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities.
- A converted house which contains one or more flats, which are not wholly self-contained (i.e. the flat does not contain within it a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by three or more tenants who form two or more households.
- A building, which is converted entirely into self-contained flats if the conversion did not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one-third of the flats, are let on short-term tenancies.
In order to be an HMO, the property must be used as the tenants' only or main residence and it should be used solely or mainly to house tenants. Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence and the same will apply to properties, which are used as domestic refuges.
There is a requirement for some types of HMO to be licensed.
If the council is concerned a property is an HMO, an inspection will take place to determine how safe the property is for residing or proposed tenants. One of the most important factors when conducting an inspection is to ensure the property has full fire protection facilities.