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Houses in Multiple Occupation

What is a House in Multiple Occupation?

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a building which is lived in by more than one household who share basic facilities such as a kitchen, a bathroom or a toilet. People are treated as being part of the same household if they are related to each other (i.e. family members) or live together as a couple.

Bedsits and houses shared by friends or work colleagues are likely to be HMOs. There are some exemptions, for example houses occupied by two unrelated individuals, which are not treated as HMOs.

Standards in Houses in Multiple Occupation

The Council has powers to control living conditions in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) covering matters such as:

  • state of repair
  • management standards
  • overcrowding
  • provision of facilities for bathing and cooking
  • means of escape in case of fire.

In some cases, HMOs are required to be licensed by the Council.

It is the Council's policy to inspect all HMOs which are known to them and to take appropriate action to ensure that they meet the required standards. The Council has produced a booklet containing guidance on  Guidance on Standards for HMOs (PDF) [770KB] (opens new window)  and the procedures for licensing.