A house in multiple occupation (or ‘HMO’) is a property lived in (as a main residence) by multiple tenants who are not members of a single ‘household‘ (ie a single person, a family, or a couple who live together). To be classified as an HMO, a property must:
host at least 3 tenants who form more than one household (in England and Wales), or host at least 3 tenants who form more than 2 households (in Scotland), and
have facilities that are shared between the different households (eg bathroom or kitchen facilities)
HMOs can contain a large number of tenants and, with multiple households involved, it’s important to be aware of who has responsibility for shared spaces and facilities. Consequently, landlords of HMOs are often subject to more rules and requirements than other residential landlords. For more information, read HMOs.
Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, HMOs in Scotland must have a licence to be rented out. Under the Housing Act 2004, ‘large’ HMOs (ie HMOs with at least 5 tenants) in England and Wales must have a licence. One of the requirements that landlords must meet to be granted a licence is that the local authority must be satisfied that there are appropriate fire safety precautions and equipment in place.
See HMOs for more information.