Landlord’s Guide: Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

published on 07/12/2021  

What is HMO?

A HMO is a building, property or flat which is occupied by three or more persons, living as a household, where rent is paid.

The most common type of HMO is when three or more unrelated personnel occupy a house, each pay for their own bedroom but share a communal kitchen and bathroom/s.

Your property would be classed as HMO if both of the following apply:

  • At least 3 tenants live in your property from different households to form 1.
  • They share bathroom and kitchen facilities with other tenants.

Your property is a large HMO if both of the following apply:

  • At least 5 tenants live in your property from different households to form 1.
  • They share bathroom and kitchen facilities with other tenants.

A HMO could also be:

  • A house split into bedsits
  • A hostel
  • A bed and breakfast for everyday living - not just holidays

What is a ‘household’?

A household is a single person or members of a family who live together. A family includes people who are:

  • Married or living together in a relationship.
  • Relatives and half-relatives including grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings.
  • Step-parents and step children.

What are my responsibilities if I let a HMO?

You have extra legal responsibilities if the flat or house your rent to tenants is a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

You need to ensure that there are reduced risks of fire and that people living in your shared house have adequate facilities.

You must make sure that:

  • Appropriate levels of fire safety measures are in place (in particular working smoke alarms)
  • Annual gas safety checks are taken out
  • Electrics are checked regularly
  • The property is not overcrowded and unsafe
  • There are sufficient toilets and cooking facilities for the number of residents.
  • Communal areas are easily accessed and in a good state of repair.
  • There are enough waste disposal facilties.


As the landlord you are responsible for repairs of the property including:

  • The exterior and structure (Gutters, window frames and walls)
  • Gas and water pipes
  • Electrics
  • Sinks, toilets and baths.
  • Fixed heathers and water heaters
Be sure to clearly set out responsibilities in your rental agreement.

HMO Licence

You must get a licence from the council if your HMO:

  • Has 5 or more unrelated people living there.
  • Has 2 or more separate households living there.

Please check with your local council to find out if you need a licence and how to obtain it.

What is the minimum room size for sleeping?

Bedroom sized must be at least:

  • 1 person aged 10 or over: 6.51 square metres
  • 2 people aged 10 or over: 10.22 square metres
  • A child under 10: 4.64 square metres
Please be aware some councils may set higher standards for bedroom sizes. Should your rented room not fit the size requirement, the council will give you 18 months to comply with the rules.

You will also need to carry out a right to rent immigration check on any adult living in the property whose agreement began on or after February 2016.

Penalties for no HMO licence

You can be fined and ordered to repay upto 12 months’ rent if you have tenants living in a property that should be licenced but isn’t.

Should you require any advice related to HMO please feel free to contact us here at Kings Lettings. We can also offer any tips related to renting or letting your property, whether you’re a first time landlord or rent out several properties, we’re always happy to share our expertise.

If you’re thinking about renting out property in the LondonReadingMaidenheadStaines and Windsor area, or are looking for further advice, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Whether you’re a first time landlord, taking on a new property, or simply looking to encourage tenant interest, we’re always happy to share our expertise here at Kings Lettings.

Lettings and property management offices in London, Reading, Maidenhead, Staines & Windsor.
T: +44 (0)16 2863 2188 | E: MAIDENHEAD@KINGS-LETTINGS.CO.UK Tags: Landlords, Hmo, Letting Agents, Renting Out Property, Renting My Home, Rent My Home, Property To Rent,