HMO standards and fire safety

HMO standards and management

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are houses or flats occupied by unrelated people. Because HMOs can have large numbers of occupants, they are subject to extra rules to make sure they are safe and properly run.

Minimum HMO standards

The Government has set a number minimum standards which licensed HMOs must comply with by law. These include provision of cooking and washing facilities, and minimum bedroom sizes.

We have adopted these into our HMO standards policy. We apply this policy to all HMOs, whether licensable or not, to ensure all shared houses meet basic minimum standards.

HMO Management Regulations

Landlords, agents and tenants of all types of HMO must comply with the HMO Management Regulations.

The HMO Management Regulations require the manager to keep all parts of the HMO safe, clean and well maintained. Tenants of HMOs must cooperate with the manager and not damage any fire safety equipment.

It is an offence not to comply with any of the HMO Management Regulations.

Buildings which are converted into flats without the right Building Control checks are a special type of HMO which have their own Management Regulations.


All HMOs must be free from serious hazards as assessed by means of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

HMO licence conditions

Any HMO occupied by 5 or more people must have a licence. When we issue a licence we always include a number of standard and mandatory licence conditions, in addition to any property-specific conditions we feel are needed to improve the standards and management of the licensed HMOs in Cherwell.

Housing advice visits

If you are thinking of setting up an HMO, we offer housing advice visits to help you meet our standards.

Landlords' HMO Handbook

We have produced an HMO handbook with record sheets to help landlords and agents meet their legal responsibilities.