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Terms and conditions

HMO required documents, guidance and checklists

Use this page to view the documents you need if you own and operate an HMO.

  • Published date: 12 June 2023
  • Last updated: 29 April 2024


This page also provides guidance documents about safety standards, housing conditions, and checklists to help you meet your legal duties.

What are Houses in Multiple Occupation?

Houses in Multiple Occupation are defined in Section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 as follows:

  • A house occupied by 3 or more persons forming more than one household who share a basic amenity such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities. This is called ‘the standard test’.
  • A flat occupied by persons forming more than one household who share a basic amenity (all of which are within the flat) e.g. a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities. This is called ‘the self-contained flat test’
  • A building that has been converted into flats but not all of the flats are fully self-contained flats. There may not necessarily be sharing of amenities. This is called ‘the converted building test’

Mandatory Licensable HMO

The property is a Mandatory Licensable HMO if both of the following apply:

  • At least 5 people occupy the property who form more than 1 household, and;
  • they share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other people. 

Read the legislation on houses in multiple occupation.

Buildings that are not HMOs

A summary from Schedule 14 of the Housing Act 2004

Some buildings are not HMOs for the purpose of the Housing Act 2004, even if they meet the requirements of the HMO definition.

These buildings are:

  • Those under the management or control of a local housing authority, a registered social landlord or certain other public bodies those regulated under other enactments, such as care homes, children homes and bail hostels
  • Those occupied solely or mainly by students studying a full time course of further and higher education at a specified educational establishment which manages the building in question, and the specified educational establishment is subject to an approved code of practice and the building in question is subject to that code
  • Those that are occupied for the purpose of a religious community whose main occupation is prayer, contemplation, education, or the relief of suffering.
  • This exemption does not apply to a converted block of flats within the meaning of Section 257 of the 2004 Act occupied by such a community
  • Those that are occupied by a freeholder or long leaseholder and their household and any other persons not forming part of the household and not exceeding two in number (e.g. owner occupiers household and one or two lodgers) 
  • This does not apply to section 257 HMOs; those that are occupied by only two persons each of whom form a single household e.g. a flat share of no more than two persons.


Last updated 29 April 2024