Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

HMO standards and licensing

A property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:

  • At least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • The toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared with other tenants

A property is a large HMO if all of the following apply:

  • It's at least 3 storeys high (or 2 storeys above a commercial unit)
  • At least 5 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • The toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared with other tenants

A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:

  • married or living together - including people in same-sex relationships
  • relatives or half-relatives, eg grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
  • step-parents and step-children

For information about HMOs

HMO standards

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.

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" and we would not be able to intervene.  If your property is overcrowded due to natural overcrowding you and want to move homes please refer to looking for accommodation for further information.   

Report overcrowding in a HMO.

HMO licences

Large HMOs must have a licence. The maximum fine for operating an unlicensed HMO is £20,000.

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 privatehousing@wandsworth.gov.uk.

Pages in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)