Houses in multiple occupation

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) can be:

  • A shared house occupied by more than one household
  • A house divided into bedsits that is occupied by more than one household
  • An individual flat occupied by more than one household

Situations considered to be a household:

  • Couples that are married or in a civil partnership
  • Relatives living together, including parents, grandparents, children (and step children), grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or cousins
  • Half relatives are treated as full relatives
  • A foster child living with his foster parent 

HMO licensing requirements:

  • All HMOs that have five or more persons forming two or more households must be licensed 
  • Bedrooms occupied by a single adult must have at least 6.51 sq. m floor area
  • Bedrooms occupied by a couple must have at least 10.22 sq. m floor area
  • No room under 4.64 sq. m can be used as a bedroom by any person 

HMO licensing

To apply for a HMO license, complete the application form and return it with all the required supporting documentation and fees.

Any landlord operating a licensable HMO without a licence will be:

  • Committing a criminal offence
  • Liable for a fine up to £20,000 on successful prosecution, or a civil penalty of up to £30,000

Use our HMO reporting form to report a landlord you suspect of operating without a licence. 

We are legally obliged to collect and publish a register of HMO licences we have issued. This information is updated on a quarterly basis.

Legal obligations

Proposed Article 4 Directions

We are proposing to introduce new Article 4 Directions that will affect the creation of new HMOs in 10 zones across the borough. These directions will remove permitted development rights for dwelling houses to change their use to houses of multiple occupation.

Full details of the proposals are available in the Cabinet minutes of 3 February 2021.