Houses in multiple occupation

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a house occupied by people who do not live as a single household

Examples of HMOs

  • bedsits
  • shared houses
  • hostels
  • non-self contained flats
  • houses converted into flats
  • hotels
  • guest houses
  • bed and breakfast establishments used to accommodate homeless people or asylum seekers

Converting a property into an HMO

Use the button below to contact our Private Sector Housing team, who can provide further information regarding turning a property into a HMO.

Contact us

Before you start

Landlords must check if a property has planning permission to be used as an HMO. If there is no consent for HMO, you will have to make a planning application.

HMO licensing

Until 1 October 2018, large HMOs, eg those with three storeys or more, that are occupied by five or more persons must be licensed.

From 1 October 2018, all HMOs with five or more people making up two or more families will need a licence to operate. This applies regardless of their size.

The changes are part of the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018.

The new legislation will also introduce minimum space standards for bedrooms:

  • Rooms sleeping one adult must be no smaller than 6.51m2
  • Any rooms sleeping two adults must be no smaller than 10.22m2
  • Rooms slept in by children aged 10 or younger must be no smaller than 4.64m2

Where minimum space standards are not being met, landlords will be given up to 18 months to put things right. They must also provide appropriate bins to store and dispose of household waste from the property.

Landlords of existing HMOs must apply for a licence before 1 October 2018 and must comply with any changes that need to be made. If they don't, they could face serious penalties, including hefty fines and criminal prosecution.

Converted blocks of flats that fall within the definition of HMO will not be subject to mandatory licensing unless there are any facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms which are shared or not fully self-contained.

In order to be licensed we must be satisfied that:

  • the house meets a prescribed amenity standard;
  • is managed by a fit and proper person; and,
  • there are suitable management arrangements in place.

Any landlord who believes that their property may be subject to licensing should contact the Private Sector Housing team to obtain further advice or request an application form.

How much it costs

Number of units of accommodationApplication feeRenewal fee
2-5£402£297
6-9£423£317
10+£434£328

All fees inclusive of VAT.

Failure to licence an HMO is an offence punishable by a fine of up to £20,000.

Properties licensed as HMOs

To view the list of properties that are already licensed as HMOs, click to view the online licensing register.