Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is where three or more unrelated people share an amenity, such as a kitchen or bathroom.

For information about HMOs

All HMOs are required to meet certain fire standards (LACORS) and amenity standards. If your property is a HMO, this will require a higher level of fire detection and protection than a family home. All private rented properties must be provided with a smoke alarm to detect a fire. This must be a mains powered alarm with a battery back up supply.

All managers / owners of HMOs are bound by The Management of House in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006 No. 372). This legislation details specific duties placed on the manager/owner in relation to HMOs.  For example, as well as having a mains-powered smoke alarm you must have fire protection measures in place to give tenants a means to escape in the event of a fire.

Overcrowding in HMOs

We enforce standards for overcrowding in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). In these properties, we enforce standards to ensure the property is not over occupied and to make sure there are a sufficient number of bathrooms and kitchen facilities for the number of occupiers.

Report overcrowding in a HMO.

Where a family has naturally increased through the birth of children since they moved into the home and the number of occupants has exceeded the property size this is known as "natural overcrowding".

The Private Housing Team will not normally intervene in cases of "natural overcrowding". Refer to Housing advice for help.

Do I need an HMO licence?

Some HMOs require a licence. A property with five or more tenants that has three or more storeys requires a licence. The maximum fine for operating an unlicensed HMO is £20,000.

Apply for a HMO licence.

View our register of currently licensed houses in multiple occupation.

If you know of a property that is offered for rent as a house in multiple occupation that is not on our register, email

Pages in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)