Houses in multiple occupation are a building, or part of a building, such as a flat, that is:

  • occupied by more than one household and where more than one household shares – or lacks – an amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities
  • occupied by more than one household and which is a converted building – but not entirely self-contained flats (whether or not some amenities are shared or lacking)
  • converted self-contained flats, but does not meet as a minimum standard the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulation, and at least one third of the flats are occupied under short tenancies

The building is occupied by more than one household:

  • as their only or main residence
  • as a refuge for people escaping domestic violence
  • by students during term time
  • for other purposes prescribed by the government

A household is:

  • families (including single people, couples including same-sex couples)
  • other relationships, such as fostering, carers and domestic staff

A licence is required for an HMO if:

  • the HMO or any part of it comprises three storeys or more
  • it is occupied by five or more people from more than one household and
  • it is occupied by persons living in two or more single households

A 'storey' can include certain basement, attic and business premises situations.

See Legislation.gov.uk - Licensing of HMO Descriptions for more details.

The license will specify the maximum number of people who may live in the HMO. It will also include the following conditions, which apply to every license:

  • a valid current gas safety certificate, which is renewed annually, must be provided
  • proof that all electrical appliances and furniture are kept in a safe condition
  • proof that all smoke alarms are correctly positioned and installed
  • each occupier must have a written statement of the terms on which they occupy the property, for example, a tenancy agreement

Councils may also apply the following conditions:

  • restrictions or prohibitions on the use of parts of the HMO by occupants
  • a requirement that the condition of the property, its contents, such as furniture and all facilities and amenities, bathroom and toilets for example, are in good working order
  • a requirement for specified works or repairs to be carried out within a particular timeframe
  • a requirement that the responsible person attends an approved training course

The fee is £530.00 for the 5-year period of the licence.

Download, complete and send back our Licensing of HMO Application Form.

The register is available for inspection by members of the public at all reasonable times at the our Phoenix House offices in Tiverton. 

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