The Housing Act 2004 introduced a new definition of what constitutes a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

A House in Multiple Occupation means a building (or part of a building, such as a flat), that:

  • is occupied by more than one household and where more than one household shares, or lacks an amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities.
  • is occupied by more than one household and which is a converted building, but not entirely into self-contained flats (whether or not some amenities are shared or lacking).
  • is converted into self-contained flats, but does not meet as a minimum standard the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations, and at least one third of the flats are occupied under short tenancies.

The building may be occupied by more than one household:

  • as their only or main residence
  • as a refuge of people escaping domestic violence
  • by students during term time
  • for other purposes prescribed by the Government

Persons do not form a single household unless that are members of the same family or they form a prescribed relationship defined by regulations. A household refers to:

  • families, including single people, couples and same sex couples
  • other relationships, such as fostering, carers and domestic staff

The Environmental Housing Team is responsible for inspecting and enforcing housing standards in licensed and non-licensed HMOs. We have legal powers to improve standards in HMOs.

Certain types of premises (those that have three or more storeys and are occupied by five or more people) require a licence to operate as an HMO.

If you wish to make an electronic application please visit the licensing for houses in multiple occupation web page.

Please contact us for further details about HMO standards or to discuss the financial assistance available to landlords.