Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

Properties containing two or more households

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is generally any property, house or flat, where there are two or more separate households sharing one or more basic amenity (such as a toilet, bathroom, or kitchen) and where there is rent or some other form of payment made by at least one person.

If you are a landlord or private tenant and you are unsure whether the property you let or rent is an HMO and would like further information please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.

Key issues for landlords

HMOs provide much needed housing, but we often encounter serious problems, such as:

  • overcrowding
  • poor or inadequate kitchen facilities 
  • poor or inadequate bathrooms
  • no or inadequate fire detection
  • inadequate fire separation
  • blocked or unsafe escape routes 

Landlords need to be aware their responsibilities and the 29 hazard types under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) are the same as for other rented properties but that as a HMO their property must meet a higher standard in some areas, such as fire detection. Part of this higher standard is through greater management and the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupancy (England) Regulations 2006 state the regulations that apply to most HMOs.

In the worst cases the Council can 'close' a HMO but we always endeavour to work with landlords to sort out any problems rather than see people lose their homes. Download our HMO Information Pack and our Amenity and Space Standard Guide for further information.

Fire Safety

A landlord of a HMO must have a fire risk assessment for their property. For more information and guidance on how to carry out a fire risk assessment visit Hampshire Fire & Rescue - Business Fire Safety

We work closely with Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service using the national guidance document from Lacors as the minimum standard that will be accepted.

Does your HMO need a licence?

The legislation for Mandatory Licensing has changed. The changes mean that Mandatory Licensing no longer applies to just large HMO's, but any HMO where there are five or more occupants. Any HMO found to require a licence will be open to enforcement action.  

Information on HMO licensing

Planning permission may also be required for a property to be used as an HMO and owners should contact us using the form below to check.

HMO licensing Register

If you have any enquiries, please email our Housing Standards team.

What to do if your property is in a state of disrepair