Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

Page updated on: 23/06/2020

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A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is defined as a property that is occupied by three or more people forming two or more households, for example:

  • A five bedroom student house
  • Bedsit accommodation with three individual people living there
  • A couple and a friend sharing
  • Certain blocks of flats that haven’t been converted pre-1991 with building regulations or post-1991 without building regulations

A House is not in multiple occupation if:

  • Two friends are sharing
  • There are two flats with a single person in each
  • The tenants are a family unit  

If you are a landlord that rents a HMO then you must ensure that the correct fire safety precautions are in place and the correct number amenities are present. There are several different scenarios that will require different standards. We recommend that you contact us for further advice if you are concerned with fire safety or the general amenities at the property you let or intend to let.

Number of people Amenity standards for bathrooms/toilets in relation to number of persons

1 – 4

No requirement for wash hand basins in sleeping rooms
At least 1 bathroom and 1 WC (the bathroom and WC may be combined)
Wash hand basin not required in bedrooms


1 wash hand basin required in each sleeping room plus
1 bathroom AND
1 separate WC with wash hand basin (but the WC can be contained within a second bathroom)

6 – 10

1 wash hand basin required in each sleeping room plus 
2 bathrooms AND
2 separate WCs with wash hand basin (but one of the WCs can be contained within one of the bathrooms)
3 separate compartments required

11 – 15

1 x wash hand basin required in each sleeping room plus 
3 bathrooms AND
3 separate WCs with wash hand basin (but two of the WCs can be contained within 2 of the bathrooms).
4 separate compartments required