Landlords Guide To Owning A House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) In The UK


Owning a property with the intension of making it a buy to let property can be exciting and HMO’S can be an attractive option for many landlords as they are often more profitable than other types of rental. So if as a landlord you are considering your options and pondering whether to make your new property a HMO it is important to inform yourself on the current HMO regulations using official sources, however we have put together some information to help you get started. 

What is a HMO…

A HMO is a property that has been rented out to three or more individuals who do not identify themselves as a ‘household’, rather they are individuals sharing facilities such as the bathroom and kitchen. It is crucial that you contact your local council to check if your property qualifies as a large HMO as if this is the case you will need to obtain a house in multiple occupancy licence, it is also worth noting that licenses are normally only valid for a maximum of five years, so you will need to ensure you apply for renewal when required. 

Types of Licenses…

There are three main types of property licences for HMO’s, Mandatory licensing, additional licensing and selective licensing. As the title suggests mandatory licensing is a requirement for all HMO’s with five or more tenants and it is now a criminal offence for landlords to rent out a large HMO without a mandatory licence. This type of licence is given to HMO’s that meet certain requirements such as minimum bedroom sizes as well things such as requiring landlord to adhere to local council refuse schemes. 

An additional licence is required when a council imposes policies requiring other sizes of HMO’s to be licensed, so for this type of licence a council could make it a requirement that HMO’s with four or more tenants instead of five. Selective licensing on the other hand can affect all rental properties regardless of size or number of occupants and again is only required at the discretion of the borough. 

Landlords wishing to own a HMO should therefore be sure to look into the licence requirements for the area in which the property resides, as although the national requirement is that only HMO’s with five or more occupants need to have a licence it may be the case that the local council have additional or selective requirements. 

Other landlord responsibilities…

As we have said before a HMO can be an attractive option for landlords however an addition to having to apply for licences and making any amendments to the property in order to meet the requirements of the licence, it is also important to remember that there are also other responsibilities that fall on the landlords shoulders with a HMO such as Council Tax.

Byoot provides a full turnkey solution to our clients, from planning, architects, structural engineers, building control and the build, leaving our clients to focus on their day jobs while we do ours. If you are thinking of extending, renovating or improving your home speak to one of the team on 0208 4509185 or send us an email at

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