A house or flat is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if:

  • occupants share basic amenities (toilet, bathroom and/or kitchen)
  • it is occupied at least three people (adults and children)
  • they form at least two households - see Glossary of terms for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
  • it is their only or main residence (includes full-time students and use as a refuge from domestic violence)
  • the house is used as a home only (this means a residential house or flat and not a commercial unit)
  • rent is payable (includes when accommodation provided instead of wages)

A mandatory (England-wide) HMO licence is required for:

  • houses that are HMOs occupied by five or more unrelated people
  • flats that have five (5) or more occupants from two or more households who share facilities but is not a purpose-built flat situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats

More information

Additional Licensing scheme changes 2021