Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licensing for Landlords

Last updated 23 February 2021 - HMO Licence Application Checklist

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While many families do live in the private rented sector, a number of properties are classed as house in multiple occupation (HMO). These properties are rented out to people who share no family ties; often the tenants are students or young professionals.

Due to the nature of these tenancies, there are a number of additional requirements placed on landlords who manage HMO properties. This includes more rigorous fire safety requirements, waste disposal rules and potentially the need to apply for a licence to manage the property.

As a result, it is important to understand whether or not you have a HMO and what additional requirements you need to abide by as the manager of a HMO property.

This guide is intended to provide you with the information you need to understand whether you have a HMO and what you are required to do as a HMO manager if you are.

What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?

At its most basic a HMO is a property occupied as the primary residence of three or more people, living in two or more households.

However, there are a number of different definitions of a HMO set out in the Housing Act 2004 that complicate this definition.

If there are at least three people living in the property and it falls into one of these categories, it will be a HMO unless an exemption applies–

Members only

This guide covers a number of topics so that landlords can confidently identify whether they have a HMO, what licensing may apply to them, and how they should go about managing the property if they do. 

Members of the NRLA gain access to the full guidance on HMO properties, including answers to topics such as -

  • what is a household?
  • when does a property require a licence?
  • how to apply for a licence
  • minimum room size standards
  • what are the HMO management duties?

Alongside this, members have access to a free a downloadable checklist to help you prepare an application for a licence.

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