Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and Mandatory Licensing


Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and Mandatory Licensing

The definition of a house in multiple occupation can be found in section 254-257 of the Housing Act 2004 (as amended).

The definition covers many different types of properties although only certain properties will require a mandatory licence.

The definition covers many different types of properties including:

  1. A house which has been converted entirely into bedsits or other non-self-contained accommodation and which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and who share kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities.
  2. A converted house which contains one or more flats which are not wholly self-contained (i.e. the flat does not contain within it a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by three or more tenants who form two or more households.
  3. A building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats if the conversion did not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one-third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies.

Does my property need to be licensed?

If your property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) you may need a licence to rent it out. If you own more than one HMO, each property will require a separate licence.

With effect from the 1 October 2018 mandatory licensing will no longer be limited to certain HMO's that are three or more storeys high but will also include buildings with one or two storeys.

A landlord must have a licence for a privately rented HMO if the property being rented out meets the following criteria:

  1. the property is occupied by five or more people
  2. those people form two or more households
  3. those occupants share one or more basic amenity

A household is defined in the Housing Act as being members of the same family living together including:

  1. Couples married to each other or living together as a couple in a relationship.
  2. Relatives living together, including parents, grandparents, children (and step children), grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, niece or cousins.
  3. Half-relatives will be treated as full relatives. A foster child living with their foster parents is treated as living in the same household.
  4. Any domestic staff are also included in the household if they are living rent-free in accommodation provided by the person for whom they are working.

An amenity means a toilet, personal washing facilities, or cooking facilities. The degree of sharing is not relevant and there is no requirement that all households share those amenities.

The property must be used as the tenants' only or main residence. This includes properties let to students and migrant workers and also properties used as domestic refuges.

If you are not sure if you will need to apply for a licence please contact us using the details at the bottom of this page.

Properties exempt from the definition of an HMO

Certain types of properties are exempt from being defined as HMO's and these include:

  1. A property where the landlord and their household lives with up to two tenants
  2. Buildings which are occupied entirely by freeholders or long leaseholders
  3. Buildings which are owned and managed by a public body (such as the NHS or Police), a local housing authority or a registered social landlord
  4. A building where the residential accommodation is ancillary to the main use of the building, for example, religious buildings, conference centre etc.
  5. Buildings which are already regulated (and where the description of the building is specified in regulations), such as care homes, bail hostels etc. (domestic refuges are not exempt).

Do I need a licence if I have lodgers?

If the property is occupied by you and your family and you have up to two lodgers then the property will not require a licence under The Housing Act 2004.

If you have more than two lodgers living in your property with you and your family you may require a mandatory licence for your property. In this event, please contact the Private Sector Housing Team to discuss using the contact details at the bottom of this page.

Additional licensing and selective licensing

Mandatory licensing is a national scheme that is operated by every Local Authority in the country.

Local Authorities have the power to introduce an additional and/or selective licensing scheme within their area.

Rother District Council does not currently operate either an additional or selective licensing scheme.

pdf icon Public Register of licensed HMOs [554kb]

The Council is required to maintain a public register of all HMOs licensed in its district. Our register contains details of the property and the landlord.

HMO Eligibility criteria

Before you apply for a HMO licence you should read our eligibility section to see if you are likely to meet the required standard.

Apply for a HMO licence

Please visit this page for information on how to apply and how much it will cost.

Maintaining a HMO licence

Licence holders are responsible for maintaining high standards after the licence is granted and must inform us immediately of any changes that will affect their licence.



Powered by GOSS iCM