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What is a HMO?

What is a HMO?


HMO is an acronym standing for “House in Multiple Occupation”.


A HMO is an entire flat or house that is let to 3 tenants or more who live as two households or more and share a kitchen, a bathroom and/or a toilet.


A full definition and possible exclusions may be found in the 2004 Housing Act, Sections 254 – 264 & Schedule 14.


Examples would be:

  • Flats within a building with 3 occupants or more
  • Houses (shared) with 3 occupants or more
  • Owner occupiers living with 3 lodgers or more

A household may consist of a single individual or several people, providing all of these people are members of one family, with half-relatives being treated as full family members/relatives.


Foster children living with their foster parent/s are treated as living within the same household as their foster parent/s.


Domestic staff members living rent-free within accommodation provided for them by the person/s they work for are also treated as part of the household.