Houses in multiple occupation

HMO licence and standards

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property which houses three or more people who form more than one household, and where tenants share basic facilities like a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.

If the HMO occupies five or more people from more than one household, the property requires a licence.

HMO standards

All HMOs are subject to management regulations that govern whether or not they are managed properly.

Our guide to the management regulations can be viewed below.

Central and local government also set guidelines to maintain living standards. These describe the minimum requirements for space, amenities and fire safety for different types of HMOs:

All HMOs must comply with management regulations and living standards guidelines even if they do not require a licence. We regularly inspect all the HMOs to ensure they meet management regulations and living standards.


It is a criminal offence not to:

  • comply with standards
  • manage an HMO properly
  • have a licence where one is required
  • comply with the conditions of the licence

The person in control of the HMO and its manager (if this is a different person) may face penalties for committing these offences. They may have to repay 12 months’ rent, pay an unlimited fine or pay a civil penalty of up to £30,000 for each offence.

They could also be banned from renting out properties and their name may appear on a national database of rogue landlords.

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