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A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a building or part of a building (for example a flat) that is occupied by more than one household and in which more than one household shares an amenity such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities.

HMOs include:

  • shared houses
  • bedsits, where occupiers have their own bedroom and share one or more basic amenities (bathroom, toilet and cooking facilities)
  • bed and breakfast establishments and hostels that provide accommodation for persons with no other permanent place of residence.

HMOs can be poorly managed and in poor physical condition. Sharing accommodation, such as bathrooms, toilets, kitchens, hallways, stairs and landings can lead to problems associated with:

  • inadequate toilet and personal washing facilities
  • inadequate food preparation facilities
  • overcrowding
  • inadequate fire safety

We use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System to assess the risk to occupiers.

Along with other local councils in Devon, we have produced HMO Standards guidance which provide information on space and amenity standards expected in HMOs and licensable HMOs. For a copy of this document please contact us.

Guidance on fire safety precautions required in HMOs are detailed in the LACORS Housing Fire Safety Guide (Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services)  (August 2008).

The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 apply to all HMOs and impose a duty on managers to ensure the property is maintained in a good condition, the water, gas and electricity supplies are maintained, the common areas are kept clean and in good repair and arrangements are made for the storage of refuse.

Certain HMOs are subject to mandatory HMO licensing. Please see our HMO Licencing webpage for further information.

More information on mandatory HMO licensing for tenants and landlords is also available.