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HMO licence requirements


Whether you need a HMO licence or not depends on the type of HMO and your local council.

HMO regulations

You need a licence if:

  • You have a "large HMO"
  • Or you have an HMO and your local council requires you have one

You have an HMO if:

  • 3 or more unrelated tenants share a flat or house
  • Or you're a live in landlord with more than 2 lodgers
  • Or students live in shared accommodation where they have exclusive use of the whole house
  • Or the house is split into bedsits where the tenant has exclusive use of their room but shares a kitchen or bathroom / WC

You have a large HMO if:

  • 5 or more people share a property from more than one 'household'
  • And some or all of them share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen
  • And at least 1 is paying rent (or their employer is paying it)

Download our full HMO guide

HMO "Household" definition

What's a 'household' classed as?

  • A single person
  • Or a couple (married or not)
  • Or multiple members of the same family.

- e.g. Jack and John are a couple, who rented a room to a lodger through SpareRoom, would be classed as two households.

HMO licensing

If you have a large HMO and so need a licence, or are classed as an HMO, contact your local council for more information.

Download our full HMO guide

HMO responsibilities and requirements

As well as the usual landlord responsibilities including gas and electricity safety checks, there are much more stringent requirements for fire safety - in fact historically, the real purpose of HMO legislation was to keep people safe from fire.

There are other responsibilities and requirements in the management of your HMO that you can read about in our HMO guide.

Download our full HMO guide