Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)


What is an HMO?

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a building, or part of a building (e.g. a flat) which 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, cooking facilities)
  • bed & breakfast establishments and hostels that provide accommodation for persons with no other permanent place of residence

Please read the pdf icon HMO Licensing Scope and Schemes [36kb] for full details.

A property that is classed as an HMO does not necessarily need licensing, but is still an HMO.

Management Regulations - A Landlords Guide

These pdf icon regulations [19kb] apply to all HMOs, imposing duties in the main on managers but with some requirements also on residents to ensure that good conditions are maintained.

More Information

For more details relating to HMOs, licensing and access to Landlord Manual go to;

The West of England Partnership Information for Landlords

The West of England Partnership Landlord Manual 3rd Edition


The Council is responsible for enforcing pdf icon HMO standards [71kb], and uses the  Housing Health and Safety Rating System to assess the risk to occupiers.

HMOs can sometimes 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

 If you live in an HMO and feel that there are any unreasonable hazards which your private landlord is not dealing with, please report it to the Housing Renewal team on 01237 428700 or email housing.renewal@torridge.gov.uk.

Fire Precautions

This pdf icon document [173kb] contains the HMO Fire Precautions. 

It is a general guide to explain and clarify the importance of fire precautions in HMOs.

HMO Licences

Most HMO properties won't need a licence - mandatory licensing applies where the property meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is at least three storeys in height, including any basement or attic used for accommodation
  • Is occupied by five or more people not forming one household, i.e. not the same family
  • The occupiers share some basic amenities such as kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities

Current charges for Licences are listed in the Housing Section of the Fees and Charges 2018/2019 document.

pdf icon HMO Licensing Requirements [21kb]

pdf icon HMO Licensing Application Guidance [191kb]

pdf icon HMO Licensing Application Form [231kb]  (If you require a copy of this application form in Word format please contact the Housing Renewal team on 01237 428700 or email housing.renewal@torridge.gov.uk)