HMOs can be fantastic investments for landlords and provide tenants with an opportunity to live in a sociable environment but what exactly is a HMO?


A HMO stands for ‘House of Multiple Occupancy’ and refers to a property rented out by at least 3 individuals who are not from 1 household. A household refers to members of the same family (step siblings, foster children and grandparents all qualify) living together. A cohabiting couple is also regarded as one household.

What is a HMO licence?

A property with 5 or more unrelated individuals would require a HMO licence from the local council. The licence would require renewing every 5 years.

HMOs & planning permission

Converting a house into a HMO occupied by 3 - 6 individuals (use class C4) would generally not require planning permission, unless it is within Article 4 but this would require checking with the local authority. A HMO for 7 or more individuals would require planning permission due to the change of use from class C4 to Sui Generis.

HMO Licence Costs

As it stands, the cost to apply for a HMO licence is £810. There is a discount should you be a member of accredited association such as Propertymark or the National Landlords Association.

HMO Compliance

With a larger number of people under one roof, the risk factor is greater and therefore it is essential to comply with increased standards expected in a HMO. Examples include the following:

  • Ensure fire safety measures are in place, including operational smoke alarms on each floor and fire doors/fire proofing where necessary
  • Ensure there is adequate provision for kitchen space and white goods as per the councils guidelines
  • Ensure there is enough bathroom facilities for the number of tenants
  • Ensure all rooms meet the minimum size requirements where applicable

If you are in doubt over whether or not your property is indeed an HMO, we would recommend contacting your local council for guidance.