HMO’s - House in Multiple Occupation

A house is classed as an HMO if:

  • three or more unrelated people live there as at least 2 separate households – for example, 3 single people with their own rooms, or 2 couples each sharing a room

  • the people living there share basic amenities – for example, a kitchen and/or bathroom.

An HMO can be either:

  • a house split into separate bedsits

  • a shared house or shared flat, where people have separate rental agreements

  • a hostel

  • a bed-and-breakfast hotel that is not just for holidays

  • shared accommodation for students

If you are unsure as to whether your home is an HMO, ask your local council to check if your home is registered as an HMO.

Properties classed as HMOs come with additional landlord responsibilities

  • ensure contact details of the landlord are made available to the occupiers. Details must be clearly displayed in a common part of the HMO.

  • proper fire safety measures are in place

  • there should be smoke detectors in every bedroom and in communal areas and the kitchen must have a heat detector

  • annual gas safety checks are carried out

  • electrics are checked every 5 years

  • the property is not overcrowded

  • there are adequate cooking and washing facilities

  • communal areas and shared facilities are clean and in good repair

  • there are enough rubbish bins for everyone living in the house.

These rules are there to reduce the risk of fire, and to make sure that people living in shared houses or flats have access to decent facilities.

Your landlord must have registered and licensed your home as an HMO with the council if:

  • 5 or more unrelated people live in it

  • there are 2 or more separate households living there.

Licenses usually last for 5 years but some councils grant them for shorter periods. When deciding whether to issue or renew a license, the council will check that the property meets an acceptable standard. It will look at whether:

  • the property is large enough for the occupants

  • it is well managed.

A landlord can be taken to court if the house or flat they’re renting out is classed as an HMO but they haven’t licensed it with the council.

Your landlord is responsible for any repairs to communal areas of the house.

They are also responsible for repairs to:

  • the structure and exterior of the house – including the walls, window frames and gutters

  • water and gas pipes

  • electrical wiring

  • basins, sinks, baths and toilets

  • fixed heaters (radiators) and water heaters.

Individual tenants are usually responsible for minor repairs to their living areas and for fixing any items they own. You should check your rental agreement to find out who’s responsible for what.


As HMO specialists, Strats can take care of all of your HMO needs, so our landlords and tenants can relax in the knowledge that we've got everything covered.


For further information:

Statutory Regulations for Tenants -




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