What is a HMO?
A House in Multiple Occupation is any residential property occupied by three or more people sharing facilities like a bathroom and/or kitchen who form two or more 'households'.
What is meant by the term 'Household'?
A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:
- Married couples or couples living together as married (including people in same-sex relationships)
- Relatives or half-relatives e.g. grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, nieces, cousins
- Step-parents and step-children and half-relatives
- Foster parents and foster children
Some domestic staff would be included if they are living in the house as a result of the terms of their contract e.g. an adult carer and up to three people receiving care are a single household.
HMO Licence for a shared home
Landlord must get a licence from the council if the HMO:
- has 5 or more unrelated people live in it
- has 2 or more separate households living there
Some councils also require other HMOs to be licensed. Some councils require all private landlords to get a licence.
HMOs don't need to be licensed if they are managed or owned by a housing association or co-operative, a council, a health service or a police or fire authority.
Licences usually last for 5 years but some councils grant them for shorter periods. When deciding whether to issue or renew a licence, the council checks that:
- the property meets an acceptable standard. For example, it looks at whether the property is large enough for the occupants and if it is well managed
- the landlord is a 'fit and proper' person