Houses in multiple occupation

What is a HMO?

In summary, a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property (house or flat) which is let to three or more people who are not members of the same household, and who share at least one basic amenity such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. The full definition of a House in Multiple Occupation is contained in the Housing Act 2004.

What is meant by household?

A household consists of persons who are members of the same family (including married and unmarried couples)


HMO’s include shared houses (and flats) hostels, bedsits and some buildings containing self contained flats.


HMO’s which are entirely occupied by owners or long leaseholders, HMOs managed by Registered Social Landlords (usually known as Housing Associations), some educational establishments, health authorities and some other bodies are not treated as HMO’s.

HMO standards

The Council ensures that all HMO’s meet acceptable standards, with regard to:-

  • Means of escape in the event of a fire
  • Amenities including bathroom and kitchen facilities
  •  Management of the property
  •  Disrepair of the property
  •  Overcrowding

For standard guidelines around HMO’s visit the Decent and Safe Homes (DASH) website.


HMOs that are occupied by at least five persons in at least two households, and comprise accommodation over three or more storeys, need a licence. Please visit the HMO Licensing page for more information and to apply.

Housing and Communities Team

Guildhall, Marshall's Yard
DN21 2NA