Skip to main content
Shelter Logo

Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

Is your home an HMO?

Your home is likely to be an HMO if other people live there and:

  • they are not part of your family or household

  • you share a kitchen, toilet or bathroom with them

Your landlord needs an HMO licence from the council if you share with 4 or more people. Some of these people might be part of your household.

Some councils make all HMO landlords get a licence even if less than 5 people live there.

Video: Know your rights in an HMO

Video transcript

Lots of renters are living in shared accommodation because of the renting crisis.

Know your rights if you’re sharing a house or a flat with other people.

HMO means a house in multiple occupation.

Your home could be what is called an HMO if you share a kitchen or bathroom with 2 or more people who aren’t your family.

If you share with 4 or more people, the landlord must get a licence from the council.

If your landlord doesn’t have a licence but should, they may not be able to evict you and you could also apply to get your rent back.

If you share with fewer people, your landlord may still have to get a licence if the local council says so. Some councils make all HMO landlords in their area have a licence.

Contact your local council to find out.

Our Shelter adviser explains your rights if you live in an HMO.

Who counts as a household?

A household could be a:

  • couple

  • single person

  • family with children

  • person with a live-in carer

There needs to be at least 2 households living there including your own to count as an HMO.

Student shared housing

HMO rules apply to shared student houses even if you have a joint tenancy and live like a household. You still count as separate households under the rules.

Student accommodation owned by a university is excluded from HMO rules.

Property guardians

Property guardian companies are covered by HMO rules if more than one household lives there and you either:

  • share a kitchen, toilet or bathroom

  • do not have 1 or more of these facilities

Find out about the rights of property guardians.

Last updated: 17 July 2024

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help