Houses in multiple occupation

Houses LexisNexis

This LexisNexis Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the management, licensing and definition of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

It covers:

• Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)
• HMO management
• HMO licensing
• Defining an HMO
• Planning legislation definitions
• Which buildings are exempt from the HMO definition?

HMOs are, or are usually, domestic premises originally designed for occupation by one family, which have been converted for occupation by a number of separate families or individuals. This process, which almost inevitably involves the sharing of bathing or kitchen facilities, and the use of parts of the premises for purposes for which they were not originally designed, raises obvious potential problems in terms not just of the amenity but also of the safety of the premises.

In addition, government and Parliament have seen the need to make special provision in respect of HMOs because of the regrettable fact that it is often persons and families most in need of social protection, including families with young children, who find themselves obliged to occupy housing that, in the main, is likely to be much less adequate than purpose-built flats or houses.

The Housing Act 2004 (HA 2004) introduced licensing for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). It provides a detailed definition of HMOs and sets out standards of management for this type of property.

HMO management
All HMOs are subject to management regulation. The duties are imposed on the HMO manager; which is defined as being the person who is the owner or lessee who collects rents from tenants or licensees (be that directly or through an agent or trustee).

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