Renting out your property (England and Wales)

5. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If you let your property to several tenants who aren’t members of the same family, it may be a ‘House in Multiple Occupation’ (HMO).

Your property is an HMO if both of the following apply:

  • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than one household
  • toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared

A household consists of either a single person or members of the same family who live together. It includes people who are married or living together and people in same-sex relationships.

Licences

An HMO must have a licence if it is both:

  • 3 or more storeys high
  • occupied by 5 or more people

A council can also include other types of HMOs for licensing.

Find out if you need an HMO licence from your council.

Risk assessment

The council has to carry out a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) risk assessment on your HMO within 5 years of receiving a licence application. If the inspector finds any unacceptable risks during the assessment, you must carry out work to eliminate them.

Reporting changes

You must tell the council if:

  • you plan to make changes to an HMO
  • your tenants make changes
  • your tenants’ circumstances change (for example they have a child)