What is a House in Multiple Occupation?

The Housing Act 2004 defines what constitutes a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

A House in Multiple Occupation means a building (or part of a building, such as a flat), that:

  • is occupied by 3 or more tenants, who form 2 or more households who share an amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities.
  • is occupied by more than one household and which is a converted building, but not entirely into self contained flats (whether or not some amenities are shared or lacking).
  • is converted self contained flats, but does not meet as a minimum standard the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations, and at least one third of flats are occupied under short tenancies.

The building may be occupied by more than one household:

  • as their only or main residence
  • as a refuge of people escaping domestic violence
  • by students during term time
  • for other purposes prescribed by the Government

Persons do not form a single household unless they are members of the same family or they form a prescribed relationship defined by regulations.  A household refers to:

  • families / relatives, including single people, couples and same sex couples
  • other relationships, such as fostering, carers and domestic staff

Examples of Properties that would be Classed as Houses of Multiple Occupation

  • shared flats and houses
  • bedsits
  • hostels
  • halls of residence for students or nurses
  • boarding houses
  • hotels or bed and breakfasts with permanent residents
  • some supported accommodation, such as foyers or ‘move on’ accommodation for homeless people.

Landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation

All HMOs will be subject to inspections from the Council under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to ensure that they are free from hazards that could affect the health and safety of any occupants or visits.

Houses of Multiple Occupation also require a greater level of fire protection and detection than single household dwellings.

Certain amenity standards apply to Houses of Multiple Occupation – these relate to a minimum provision dependant on the number of persons within the property in terms of bathroom, toilet and kitchen facilities. Further detail on this is contained within Schedule 3 of The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006

Houses of Multiple Occupation must also comply with The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupations Regulations 2006.

Landlords operating certain types of HMOs will require a licence by law from the Council. For more information see ‘Licensing of Housing in Multiple Occupation’.

Useful Contacts

For further information and advice please contact –


Housing Standards Team
Scaitcliffe House
Ormerod Street

Telephone: 01254 388 111

Email: strat@hyndburnbc.gov.uk