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Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

2.10 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Special requirements apply to types of properties known as Houses
in Multiple Occupation (HMO) which place special responsibilities on
landlords and agents.

2.10.1 Definition of an HMO

An HMO is defined in sections 254 to 259 of the Housing Act 2004. In
simple terms, an HMO is a building, or part of a building, such as a flat, that:

• is occupied by more than one household and where the
occupants share, lack, or must leave their front door to use an
amenity such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities;

• is occupied by more than one household in a converted
building where not all the flats are self-contained. “Self-
contained” means that all amenities such as kitchen, bathroom
and WC are behind the entrance door to the flat;

• is a converted block of self-contained flats, but does not meet
the requirements of the Building Regulations 1991, and less
than two thirds of flats are owner occupied.

The households must occupy the building as their only or main residence
(remembering that tenants can have more than one main residence)
and rent must be payable in respect of at least one of the household’s
occupation of the property.

Generally a household is a family (including co-habiting and same-sex
couples or other relationships, such as fostering, carers and domestic
staff). The definition of a family also includes parent, grandparent, child,
stepchild, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, cousin and
“a relationship of the half-blood shall be treated as a relationship of the
whole blood.”

Each unrelated tenant sharing a property will be considered a single

Properties which are shared by two individuals are exempt from the HMO
definition as are those with a resident landlord with no more than two

A self-contained unit is one which has a kitchen (or cooking area),
bathroom and toilet for the exclusive use of the household living in the
unit. If the occupiers needs to leave the unit to gain access to any one of
these amenities then the unit is not self-contained.