The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued new guidance for houses in multiple occupation which takes effect from 1 October 2018. 

What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?

It's a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (e.g. a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. It’s sometimes called a ‘house share’.

You must usually have a licence to rent out a HMO, especially a large HMO in England and Wales. This is where:

  • it’s rented to 5 or more people who form more than 1 household;
  • it’s at least 3 storeys high;
  • tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.


From 1 October 2018 the 3 storey element is being removed. This means that any HMO occupied by 5 or more individuals (not related to each other) will require an HMO licence. 

The changes also provide for new minimum sleeping room sizes, including:

  • 6.51 m2 for one person over 10 years of age;
  • 10.22 m2 for two persons over 10 years of age;
  • 4.64 m2 for one child under the age of 10 years.

In addition, all HMO licences issued in England after 1 October 2018 will need to include a condition requiring the compliance with the council’s storage and waste disposal scheme (where relevant). A licence holder’s failure to comply with the scheme is a breach of the licence and a criminal offence.


If you are a landlord with a relevant HMO, it's advisable to contact your local authority to discuss the new requirements and possibly obtaining a new licence.

At Markel Law we regularly comment on SME related matters. 

Follow this link to find out more about Markel Law and how we can assist your business.