Houses or flats that are HMOs and HMO licensing

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

  • It is occupied by three (3) or more people: Adults and children are counted as people
  • They form two (2) or more households: A household may be; either a single person, or several members of the same family all related by blood (up to first cousin distance), or marriage (or equivalent co-habiting arrangement).
  • They share basic amenities: Toilet, bathroom and/or kitchen
  • 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: i.e. it's a residential house or flat, and not a commercial unit
  • Rent is payable: or other consideration, e.g. 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; or
  • 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

From 10 June 2021, all other HMOs in Oxford require an HMO licence under the Councils’ Additional Licensing scheme. For more information, see Additional Licensing scheme changes 2021