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Home > Housing > Advice for private landlords and tenants > Houses in multiple occupation

Houses in multiple occupation

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is defined by the Housing Act 2004 as a building, or part of a building, that is occupied by persons who do not form a single household - in other words, are not family members.

For example:

  • A house or flat converted into three or more bedsits
  • A house or flat occupied by three or more friends, work colleagues or students
  • A house converted into self-contained flats where less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied and the flats were not converted in accordance with the 1991 Building Regulations
  • For guidance please see 'House of Multiple Occupation Landlord's Handbook'   


Planning permission

Since April 2010, an application must be made for planning permission when converting a property into a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) which will be occupied by more than 6 persons.

You can also revert back to a dwelling house without the need for an application.


Building Control approval

Approval will be required under Building Regulations for conversion of a building into a House in Multiple Occupation which will be occupied by more than 5 persons.



Extended mandatory HMO licensing will apply from 1 October 2018 to all HMOs occupied by five or more persons forming more than one household. This is now regardless of the number of storeys to the building.

It is an offence to operate a House in Multiple Occupation which meets the licensable criteria without a licence.

There will be a fee for a licence which is £551.

You can apply for a licence by downloading the form below:

Application for a licence for a House in Multiple Occupation

Once the form is complete, email the Adaptations Team or send it to:

Adaptations Team
Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils
Endeavour House
8 Russell Road
Ipswich IP1 2BX

See also:


Fire and Amenity standards

The fire standards set out in the HMO Fire and Amenity standards document are the minimum standards to be achieved and should be used as a guide only.

The actual provisions required will be dependent on a risk assessment carried out by a council officer.

The HMO Fire and Amenity standards document is available to download:

Fire and Amenity Standards in Houses in Multiple Occupation


Manager's duties

The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Regulations 2006 apply to all HMOs.

These regulations impose duties on both managers and tenants to ensure that the property is maintained to a good standard.

Manager's duties

The manager must ensure that common parts, fixtures, fittings and appliances are well maintained, in good repair and clean condition.

This includes:

  • Water, gas and electricity supplies and drainage facilities
  • Appliances such as cookers, heaters and washing machines
  • Shared lighting and heating facilities, including hot water supplies
  • Shared toilets, baths, sinks and basins
  • Shared cooking, food storage and other installations
  • Staircases, handrails, halls and landings, including floor coverings
  • Windows and other means of ventilation
  • Outbuildings, paths, yards and garden areas

The manager must ensure that the living accommodation is well maintained. Each unit of living accommodation and any furniture supplied must be in a clean condition at the beginning of a tenancy. The internal structure of living accommodation and any fixtures, fittings or appliances supplied within it must be maintained in good repair and clean working order, subject to the tenant behaving in a tenant-like manner.

Safety Measures

The manager must take reasonable safety measures to ensure that:

  • tenants are protected from injury
  • any fire escapes are free from obstruction and in good order
  • the fire alarm system and any fire fighting equipment provided are maintained in good order

Supply and maintenance of gas and electricity

  • The supplies of gas or electricity must not be interrupted unless there is good reason
  • The latest Gas Safe appliance test certificate for the HMO must be supplied to the council within seven days of a written request
  • Every fixed electrical installation must be inspected and tested at intervals not exceeding five years by a person that is qualified to undertake such inspection and testing. A certificate specifying the results of the test must be obtained from the qualified person and supplied to the council within seven days of receiving a written request

Provision of information for tenants

A notice must be displayed in the HMO giving the name, address and telephone number of the manager so that residents have someone to contact.

Waste disposal facilities

An adequate number of bins for refuse disposal must be provided. The manager must make sure that rubbish does not accumulate and should arrange for the disposal of refuse and litter according to the services provided by the council.


Tenants' obligations

Tenants and occupiers should:

  • Take reasonable care to avoid damage and disrepair
  • Cooperate in a reasonable way with the property manager and provide information to allow them to carry out their duties
  • Comply with any reasonable arrangements made by the manager regarding means of escape from fire and refuse storage and disposal
  • Allow the manager access to bedrooms to carry out their duties when required



All HMOs are inspected with regard to the following:

  • Fire and amenity standards
  • Manager and tenant responsibilities
  • Housing standards and enforcement
  • Determination of whether the property should be licensed