Houses in Multiple Occupation - Policy for assessing fit and proper persons

Last updated: 28 January 2020

What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property which is occupied by three or more people forming two or more households, where facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms are normally shared. It includes bedsits, shared houses (students and professionals) and some self-contained flats.

The government has now decided to extend the scope of mandatory licensing, to bring smaller HMOs into the scheme. From 1 October 2018 mandatory licensing will include:

  • all HMOs with five or more occupiers living in two or more households regardless of the number of storeys
  • some purpose built flats occupied by five or more persons in two or more separate households, regardless of whether the flat is above or below commercial premises

It is the individual HMO that is required to be licensed and not the building within which the HMO is situated. So where a building has two flats and each is occupied by five persons living in two or more households, each flat will require a separate HMO licence.