HMO meaning: What does it stand for in property housing?

HMOS are a common way for students and young professionals to live.

With thousands returning to universities up and down the country, here we look at exactly what a HMO is…

Lots of young professionals live in a HMO


Lots of young professionals live in a HMOCredit: Getty

What does HMO stand for?

HMO stands for house in multiple occupation.

This is when a property is rented out by at least 3 people who are not from one ‘household’ – like a family.

People in HMOs share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. 

It is also known as a ‘house share’.

Do you need a license for a HMO property? 

Landlords should check with their local council to see if they need a license for renting out a HMO.

A separate licence is needed for each HMO they run.

There are several conditions that must be met to get a license.

According to you must make sure:

  • the house is suitable for the number of occupants (this depends on its size and facilities)
  • the manager of the house – you or an agent – is considered to be ‘fit and proper’, for example they have no criminal record or breach of landlord laws or code of practice
  • send the council an updated gas safety certificate every year
  • install and maintain smoke alarms
  • provide safety certificates for all electrical appliances when requested

Can you get fined if you do not have a licence?

You could get an unlimited fine for renting out an unlicensed HMO.

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