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What is a HMO

An HMO is a building or a part of a building (such as a flat) that is occupied by three or more persons, living as more than one household, where rent is paid, or some other consideration is made

The most common form of HMO is where three or more unrelated persons occupy a house, where they pay rent for their own bedroom and share a kitchen and/or a bathroom. However, there are other ways in which the occupation of a building, or part of a building, can constitute a HMO, and these are defined in Sections 254 - 259 of the Housing Act 2004. 

Buildings which comprise self-contained flats can also be HMOs, as can buildings containing a mixture of self-contained flats and units of accommodation which are not self-contained flats.

To protect tenants in HMOs from poor conditions, the government regulates the quality of the accommodation, and ensures that;

  • there are not too many people living in the HMO
  • the conditions within the HMO are monitored.

If you are changing the use of a property into an HMO, you are advised to consult the planning department before undertaking any work, or applying for a licence. If planning permission is unlikely to be approved, a HMO licence will have no bearing on the matter should the Planning Office consider it necessary to pursue formal action.

If you are a landlord and you own an HMO, you may need a HMO licence. Private Rented Services deal with all aspects of HMO licensing such as:

  • advising you on which properties require a licence
  • helping you through the application process
  • assisting with any events or change of circumstances after your licence has been issued
  • helping you to renew your licence when the current licence is due to expire.

You can find information you need to apply for, change, or renew a HMO licence in these pages. You can also apply for or renew a HMO licence online.

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