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What is an HMO?

HMO stands for House in Multiple Occupation


An HMO is a building, or part of a building that is occupied by 3 or more tenants in 2 or more households with shared or lacking amenities, such as a bathroom, WC or cooking facilities. This includes buildings which have been converted into non-self-contained living accommodation (eg "bedsits").

An HMO can also be a building which has been converted into self-contained flats (where at least one third of the flats are rented to tenants) but did not meet the requirements of Building Regulations.

Occupiers are only considered to be a single household if they are all members of the same family or are in a relationship such as foster families, carers or employees.

The objectives of HMO regulations are to ensure all HMOs meet basic Health and Safety requirements and to encourage the provision of good quality, well managed accommodation so that they are:

  • in satisfactory condition and are safe to live in
  • have adequate means of escape in case of fire
  • have sufficient bathrooms
  • have sufficient kitchens
  • have sufficient space and are not overcrowded

All HMOs must comply with Hillingdon's minimum standards and the national HMO regulations, but not all HMOs need to be licensed. Owners and managers of HMOs also need to make sure they have planning permission if they sub-divide a house into self-contained units or change the use of a house from a single dwelling to an HMO with 7 or more occupiers.  Change of use to HMO for up to 6 occupiers does not require planning permission, except in Uxbridge South and Brunel wards where planning permission is required for change of use to HMO access the online mapping system​​ or see this document Designation of area in which planning permission is required to create an HMO [1009kb]

The following types of properties are not regarded as HMOs:

  • homes occupied by no more than two single persons, such as two friends sharing a flat or house
  • homes occupied by a resident landlord with up to two lodgers
  • properties managed or owned by a public body such as the NHS, local housing authority or a registered social landlord (such as a housing association)
    where the residential accommodation is linked to the principal use of the building, for example religious establishments, conference centres and such like
  • student halls of residence
    buildings that are regulated separately, such as care homes, bail hostels etc
  • buildings predominantly occupied by owner occupiers, including leaseholders

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 27 Dec 2017 at 09:24