What is an HMO?

A property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:

  • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than one household
  • toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared

A building which has been poorly converted into flats may also be a special type of HMO.

A household consists of either a single person or members of the same family who live together. It includes people who are married or living together and people in same-sex relationships.

HMO Licences

An HMO must have a licence if it is occupied by 5 or more people.

All HMOs must be safe and well managed. It is an offence not to comply with the HMO Management Regulations.


The HMO definition can be very complex. Further information is available from the GOV.UK.