What is a House in Multiple Occupation - HMO?

The Housing Act 2004 redefines a House in Multiple Occupation (known as a HMO) as a building or part of a building (eg. flat) which:

  • two or more households occupy and share one or more basic amenities (toilet, bathroom, cooking facilities) 
  • is a converted building not entirely comprising of self-contained flats
  • is converted into Self-contained flats but the conversion does not comply with the Building Regulations 1991 and less than 2/3 of the flats are owner occupied
  • is occupied as the only or main residence

A household is defined as persons who are all members of the same family (that is related to one another as a couple, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or cousin. Stepchildren and half blood relatives are included).

Three unrelated people sharing a house would make a HMO.

The council inspects HMOs in the district to make sure they meet decent home standards.

Information for tenants

The council is responsible for enforcing HMO standards, so if you live in an HMO and feel there are any unreasonable hazards which your private landlord is not dealing with, please report it.

Report poor housing conditions

HMO licences

All HMO properties which have three or more storeys and are occupied by five or more people forming two or more households must have a HMO licence.

The council's HMO Policy and HMO licence guidance set out the standards and conditions HMO landlords must meet.

Please note: the cost for applying for a new licence has changed to those stated for North Devon on gov.uk using the links below. Please contact our Housing Team for advice 01271 388876 before applying using the links. We are in the process of arranging for the information to be updated and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Apply for a HMO licence

Renew a HMO licence

Change an existing HMO licence

If you don't want to apply online, you can download a HMO licence application form (pdf 438KB) and send it back to us.

HMO licensing register

The council must maintain a public register of all the premises licensed as a house in multiple occupation. A copy of this register can be found on the Councils open Data page and is updated on a quarterly basis. There is also a monthly version, updated each month.

If you have any enquiries about a HMO property please contact us.