Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

See if you need a HMO licence

You must have a licence if you’re renting out a large HMO in England or Wales. Your property is defined as a large HMO if all of the following apply:

  • it is rented to five or more people who form more than one household
  • some or all tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities
  • at least one tenant pays rent (or their employer pays it for them)
  • each HMO must have its own license

The following properties also need a licence:

  • purpose-built flats of no more than two units where tenants form more than one household and they share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen
  • a commercial property with purpose-built flats of no more than two units, where at least one flat has tenants that form more than one household and they share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen.

Purpose-built flats of three or more, such as a halls of residence, do not need a licence. If you are on the list of Specified Educational Establishments you do not need a licence.

If you're still not sure, you can check with our Licensing team.

Change of use

If you're in a HMO Article 4 direction area, you will also need planning permission to change the use of the property.

Check if you are in a HMO Article 4 direction area