What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?

A house in multiple occupation or ‘HMO’ is a rental property which is occupied by three people or more, who form two households or more, and share facilities within the accommodation, including toilets, bathrooms and/or cooking facilities.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) can be formed of:

  • an entire house or flat
  • a house which has been converted into bedsits or other non self-contained accommodation
  • a house which has been converted into one or more flats
  • a building which has been converted into self-contained flats and where the conversion did not meet the building regulation standards published in 1991 and more than one third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies.

Properties rented to students and migrant workers are treated as their only or main residence. The same applies to properties which are used as refuges for victims of domestic violence.

What is a ‘household’?

A ‘household’ is defined as members of the same family sharing domestic accommodation, including:

  • married couples or non married couples living together as husband and wife (or in an equivalent same sex relationships)
  • relatives living together, including parents, grandparents, children (including step-children), grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or cousins
  • half-relatives living with their relatives 
  • foster children living with their foster parent(s). 

Domestic staff are also included as part of a household if they are living rent-free in accommodation provided by the person for whom they are working.