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House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) covers most properties housing three or more people, if they are not all in the same family. Find out about the responsibilities of a HMO owner.

Owners of HMOs have additional responsibilities relating to the management of the property. HMO management regulations apply to most properties where there are three or more unrelated occupants.

In some cases a HMO licence is required, in which case you must apply for a HMO licence.

We have adopted  icon HMO Amenity Standards [72.28KB] as a guide to what facilities are required in a HMO. We follow LACORS fire safety guidance, which is now available on the CIEH website.

Fire safety can be enforced by us in any domestic property (not only HMOs). Smoke alarms must be installed in all rented accommodation from 1 October 2015. Carbon monoxide alarms are also required where there is a solid fuel appliance. Further guidance is available from gov.uk.

There is further information about HMOs on gov.uk.

See our related pages for details on the house in multiple occupation licensing scheme and permitted development for converting a house into a house in multiple occupation.

Duties of HMO managers and occupiers

Management Regulations (The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006) apply to all HMOs (whether or not they are licensable).

The regulations impose duties on managers and occupiers of HMOs.

Manager's duties

The manager must:

  • give his or her contact details to the occupiers

  • keep fire escapes in repair and free from obstruction

  • maintain fire-fighting equipment and alarms

  • take reasonable measures to make sure that people living in the HMO are not injured on account of its design and structural condition

  • make sure there is adequate drainage from the HMO and an adequate water supply and the supply is not unreasonably interrupted

  • supply us with annual gas safety certificates (if gas is supplied) when requested

  • carry out safety checks on electrical installations every five years

  • make sure the supply of gas (if any) and electricity is not unreasonably interrupted

  • keep the HMO's common parts (including fixtures and fittings)in repair (including decorative repair) and good order

  • maintain shared gardens and keep in repair any structures belonging to the HMO

  • keep in repair the occupiers' living accommodation in the HMO, including fixtures and fittings

  • provide suitable facilities for the disposal of rubbish.

Occupiers' duties

The occupiers of the HMO must:

  • not hinder or prevent the manager from carrying out his or her duties under the regulations

  • take reasonable care not to damage anything which the manager has a duty to repair, maintain, keep in good order or supply under the regulations

  • dispose of rubbish using the manager's advice

  • follow all reasonable fire safety instructions given by the manager.

Fines for failure to meet duties

If a manager, or occupier, fails to meet any management regulation without a reasonable excuse, they may be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000.

The "manager" in these regulations includes the landlord or a person responsible for the management of the HMO.

Before prosecuting, we will normally give you an opportunity to remedy the breach depending on the seriousness of the case, in line with our enforcement policy.