Houses in multiple occupation

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) make a valuable contribution to local housing as they offer a cheap and accessible form of housing for many people on low or moderate incomes. There are strict standards regarding licensed HMOs that landlords must follow, which are enforced by our environmental health services.

A HMO must have a licence if all three of the following apply:

  • It meets the definition of an HMO
  • It is three storeys or more (includes basements)
  • It is occupied by five or more people forming at least two households.


To help landlords comply with the requirements, we have produced a guide containing amenity standards. 

Houses in multiple occupation - amenity standards

Definition of a HMO and advice

Application process

  • Applications must be made to the local housing authority
  • You must be a fit and proper person to hold the licence.

Licence fees will be payable for an application and conditions are attached. Should the application not be granted, you will be refunded half the fee. It is an offence to operate a licensable house in multiple occupation without a licence. The fine can be up to £20,000.

Apply for a house in multiple occupancy licence or tell us about a change

Fees and Charges

Please find our fees here: Houses of multiple occupation fees.


Information on landlords operating some local residential properties.
If you are looking at renting a room in a house that has three or more storeys, is occupied by five or more people forming two or more separate households, ask for confirmation that the property is correctly licensed by the Council. If you are concerned about conditions in your property you should speak with your landlord in the first instance. If you feel you need us to intervene you should report the matter by email or telephone us on 01372 732000.

Further information
Residential Landlords Association