Standards for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

2. What is a house in multiple occupation

The full definition of a House in Multiple Occupation is contained in section 254 of the Housing Act 2004.

In essence, a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a building or part of a building, such as a flat, which is occupied as living accommodation by more than two people who are not members of the same household, and who share one or more basic amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities.

HMOs include houses let to a group of friends, hostels, houses let room by room as ‘bedsits’ and some buildings containing self contained flats.

A building converted to self contained flats may be an HMO, where the conversion does not meet the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations, and at least one third of the flats are occupied under short tenancies.

A household is:

  • a single person
  • a co-habiting couple
  • people who are members of the same family

The full definition of a household is available in The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses Regulations 2006