Houses in Multiple Occupation

Pages in Houses in Multiple Occupation

  1. 1. You are here: Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
  2. 2. Register of Licences of Houses in Multiple Occupation

1. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

The Environmental Health team works to ensure the safety of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the same way as they do in other rented accommodation using the  Housing Health and Safety Rating System.  For more details please see Housing Standards in the private sector.

Landlords of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) also have additional responsibilities relating to the management of the property.

HMOs are accommodation where amenities are shared by persons who do not belong to the same household.  For example;

  • It can be a shared house or flat:

    • When 3 or more tenants (in at least 2 households*) rent a whole house and share the kitchen and/or bathroom and/or toilet it is an HMO. NB where the landlord is resident then it only becomes an HMO when there are 3 tenants in addition to the landlord and his family.
  • It can be a house that has been converted to contain bedsits or bedrooms:
    • Where there are 3 or more tenants (in at least 2 households*), each household rents a room or bedsit and shares a kitchen and/or bathroom and/or toilet with the others then it is an HMO
  • It can be a house that has been converted to contain some bedsits or bedrooms and some self contained flats.
    • Where there are 3 or more tenants (in at least 2 households*) in the non-self contained accommodation only and each of these households rents a room or bedsit and shares a kitchen and/or bathroom and/or toilet with others it is an HMO.
  • A converted house containing all self contained flats
    • In certain circumstances an HMO can also sometimes be a converted house containing all self contained flats This is only the case where the building has not been converted to the standard required by the 1991 Building Regulations and when more than a third of the flats are let on short term tenancies (that is terms granted for less than 21 years). This type of HMO is called a Converted Block of flats and is sometimes also known as a section 257 HMO. Such HMOs are subject to different regulations to those listed above.

*Household means

A single person, a co-habiting couple (irrespective of sex) or members of the same family.


Some properties are exempt from being classed as HMOs for example properties of the types described above but owned by Public Sector Bodies, Housing Associations, the Health Service and the Police.

For more detail please download our leaflet:

Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation

From October 2018 all HMOs which accommodate 5 or more persons in 2 or more households (sharing facilities) will require a licence irrespective of the number of storeys in the building. 

You can apply now or at any time up and until October 2018 but you must complete your application by that time to avoid enforcement action.

HMOs which accommodate 5 or more persons in 2 or more households and are arranged over 3 or more storeys are already required to be licenced. 

Apply for an HMO licence

If your property meets the criteria set out above then you will need to apply for an HMO licence. 

The fee to be paid in respect of the licence application is £730.00

You are required to send the following documents with your online application.  Please read the notes relating to each document and ensure that your attachments meet the required standard

  • Plan of the property. - You must submit a plan for each floor of your property (minimum A4 size per floor). Whilst this does not have to be a professionally drawn scale plan it must have an idea of size and must accurately represent the layout of your house. The plan must show the bathroom and kitchen amenities and the fire precautions that have been installed. We recommend you look at the following plan drawing guidance note (PDF) for assistance.
  • Electrical Installation Condition Report - This must be dated within 5 years of the application date.
  • Landlords Gas Safety Certificate (if your property is supplied with gas) - this must be dated within a year of the application (i.e. still be valid)
  • BS5839 test report relating to the fire detection system (if applicable)
  • BS5266 test report relating to the emergency lighting  system (if applicable)


Licensing Conditions and HMO Standards

The law sets out prescribed licence conditions ( which Reigate and Banstead must include on the licences they issue.  These conditions have been updated since they were first issued.

Reigate and Banstead are able to add discretionary conditions.

What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

Houses in Multiple Occupation Management (England) Regulations 2006

A person managing an HMO is required to comply with these regulations. They set out the duties of the manager to:

  • supply information to the occupier and to display it

  • take safety measures - by keeping the means of escape  in case of fire clear from obstructions and by maintaining the means of escape including any provided equipment

  • maintain water supply and drainage

  • supply and maintain gas and electricity

  • maintain common parts, fixtures fittings and appliances

  • maintain living accommodation

  • provide waste disposal facilities

In addition the regulations also set out the duties of the residents to co-operate with the manager, to take reasonable care and to follow instructions given by the manager.

Planning Permission

Sometimes planning permission is required for a House in Multiple Occupation. If you are considering converting a dwelling house into an HMO you should seek advice from the planning department whether permission is required. The HMO management regulations and the licencing provisions apply whether you need planning permission in your particular case.


It is an offence if the landlord or person in control of the property:

  • fails to apply for a licence for a licensable property
  • allows a property to be occupied by more people than is permitted under the licence.
  • fails to comply with a condition on the licence

Conviction of a landlord for any of these offences could result in an unlimited fine. Furthermore, under certain circumstances, a tenant living in an HMO that should have been licensed may be able to apply for a Rent Repayment Order, to recover the rent they paid during the unlicensed period (up to a maximum of 12 months).  Local authorities are also able to claim back housing benefit payments made in relation to unlicensed HMOs.