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Houses in Multiple Occupation

What is a House in Multiple Occupation

COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is defined as a property occupied by three or more persons (including children) who form more than one household. This includes buildings converted into self-contained flats (which do not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations).

A household may be a single person or several members of the same family. For example:

a) a house occupied by a brother, sister and one other unrelated occupant would form two households;

b) three unrelated persons would form three households.

The tenancy agreement is not relevant in determining if a house is a HMO. Nor is the size of the property (e.g. the number of storeys).

COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities - GOV.UK

Do all HMOs have to be licensed?

Since the 1st October 2018, all HMO’s housing 5 or more persons from 2 or more households require a licence regardless of how many floors they have, i.e. there is no longer a storey requirement.

The requirement for a licence now also applies to purpose built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both of the flats are occupied by 5 or more persons in 2 or more separate households and applies regardless of whether the block is above or below commercial premises. This brings certain flats above shops on high streets within mandatory licensing as well as small blocks of flats which are not connected to commercial premises. Each flat meeting the occupancy criteria will require a separate HMO licence.

It is the individual HMO that is required to be licensed and not the building within which the HMO is situated. 

Details of HMO applications and HMO licences may be found by searching our Licensing Public Register.

The property must be 'reasonably suitable for occupation' for a number of people

For an HMO to be suitable for occupation for a relevant number of people the Council will be using the set standards . The regulations prescribe standards covering;

  • number, type and quality of bathrooms, toilets, wash basins and showers
  • number, type and quality of food storage, preparation and cooking facilities
  • fire precautions

Address: North Northamptonshire Council Central Licensing Administration Unit , Thrapston Offices, Cedar Drive, Thrapston NN14 4LZ

Telephone: 01832 742102