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Houses in Multiple Occupation

What is a House in Multiple Occupation

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).

Do all HMOs have to be licensed?

All HMO’s of 5 or more are now licensable regardless of how many floors they have. All properties must have a licence in place by 1st October 2018. Effectively this means the storey requirement will be removed from the current definition.

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. This will apply regardless of whether the block is above or below commercial premises. This will bring certain flats above shops on high streets within mandatory licensing as well as small blocks of flats which are not connected to commercial premises.

As is the case now, it is the individual HMO that is required to be licensed and not the building within which the HMO is situated. This means that where a building has two flats and each is occupied by 5 persons living in 2 or more households, each flat will require a separate HMO licence.

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: CLAU is based at East Northamptonshire Council
Cedar Drive, Thrapston, Northamptonshire NN14 4LZ

Telephone: 01832 742102