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Shared Houses & Houses in Multiple Occupation



What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?


A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a building, or part of a building, occupied by three or more people, in more than one household.

New laws have extended the definition of an HMO to cover more property types. An HMO can be a shared house, a building split into bedsits or self-contained flats, bed and breakfast accommodation, a hostel, and many types of student accommodation.

A household is a group of people who live together. They must be connected by marriage, civil partnership; or be a recognised couple (same sex, or opposite sex). In addition, they can be a family member, ie. a child, parent, sister, brother, nephew, niece, or in-law – or have another recognised connection like fostering or adoption.

People that live in the same place, but are not connected in this way, are not counted as a single household. So for example, a group of five students or adult friends count as five households, even if they live at the same address.

The Council has legal powers and duties to improve standards in such houses.

With more people living in HMOs and sharing rooms, bathrooms, toilets and kitchens, there could be problems such as:

  • Overcrowding
  • Inadequate kitchens, bathrooms or toilets
  • Greater risk of fire
  • Poor management.

There are different types of HMOs so standards vary according to the type of occupation.


Contact Us

If you are not sure whether your property is classified as an HMO, or for more information, contact

Neil Kilgour

Tel: 0191 433 2518

E-mail: Neil Kilgour