Is this an HMO?

Is this an HMO?

10:54 AM, 20th February 2019, About 3 years ago 43

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I would appreciate your thoughts on whether the following will constitute an HMO:

My husband and I would like to buy a flat and rent out 2 of the rooms to 2 separate people. We would use a third room for ourselves from time to time when we are visiting London.

We would share the kitchen but may have an en-suite.

As we would still only have 2 tenants then there is no HMO as we would only be visiting the flat?

This would not be our principle private residence so we cannot have the 2 occupants as lodgers.

Thanks for your assistance.


Editors Note:

From .Gov >>

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If you let your property to several tenants who are not members of the same family, it may be a ‘House in Multiple Occupation’ (HMO).

Your property is an HMO if both of the following apply:

  • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than one household
  • toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared

A household consists of either a single person or members of the same family who live together. It includes people who are married or living together and people in same-sex relationships.


An HMO must have a licence if it is occupied by 5 or more people. A council can also include other types of HMOs for licensing.

Find out if you need an HMO licence from your council.



9:29 AM, 27th February 2019, About 3 years ago

Hi Maria
My understanding is there is 3 types of licensing.
(1) HMO - that became mandatory nationwide from 1st Oct 2018 and it is a criminal offence if you are found not to have one if you are operating a larger HMO ie occupied by "five or more people [and] two or more households" (the 3rd storey requirement has been withdrawn).
The other two types of licenses are completely dependant on your individual council's policy as to whether they have applied for and are operating them in your area or not:
(2) Additional Licensing, which essentially means all properties occupied by two or households regardless of occupancy number, and
(3) Selective licencing - this would apply to all properties in the private rental sector regardless of the number of tenants i.e. you would be required to apply for a selective license if you legally need to issue AST's as opposed as to live in the property yourself and have lodgers.
Your first point of call should therefore always be the council that you pay council tax to for that property to seek clarification as to the licenses required.
Separate to this there will be planning conditions regarding some HMO's also dependant on an individual council's policy. Be aware of Article 4 designated areas.


9:37 AM, 27th February 2019, About 3 years ago

Apologies re typo above:
Additional Licensing should read: two or "more" households regardless of occupancy number.
ie the precise technical definition of an HMO ie House of Multiple Occupation. The Mandatory Licensing is considered to apply to "larger" HMO's ie five or more people.
Because of this, there is often confusion re defining HMO's.


11:43 AM, 27th February 2019, About 3 years ago

Talking of Article 4 designated areas, in Newham London Borough, their requirement is to obtain planning permission if your HMO has more than 6 people, i.e. if you have 7 or more then you would also need HMO planning permission. I am not sure if this is a rule everywhere.


14:26 PM, 27th February 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 27/02/2019 - 11:43In an area without Article 4, it is within Permitted Development Rights (i.e. no need for planning permission) to change the use of a property from Planning Use Class C3 (dwelling houses) to Class C4 ("Small HMO" = shared dwelling houses occupied by between three and six unrelated individuals, as their only or main residence, who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom").
With Article 4 in place, any changes from C3 (dwelling house) to C4 ("small HMO") in that designated area DO need planning permission.
Any HMO with seven or more occupants is considered a "large HMO", which has a different Planning Use Class of "Sui Generis" (basically = "miscellaneous"), and will always need planning permission.


19:00 PM, 27th February 2019, About 3 years ago

Thanks Richard for clarifying it, Newham did trigger or evoked and have now in place Article 4. On my licence, they stated that if there are more than 6 people occupying an HMO then I may need planning permission as well, so for the time being I am sticking to 5 or 6 occupants.


13:37 PM, 28th February 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 27/02/2019 - 19:00
Hi Mike, yes, you would need planning permission to change from C4 (for "small HMO") to Sui Generis (for "large HMO"), regardless of Article 4, and regardless of Newham.

Colin McNulty

16:33 PM, 6th March 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Baker at 26/02/2019 - 12:03
Hi Kris, can you explain why you think the landord doesn't count as a "person" in the assessment of the numbers in a HMO please?


17:05 PM, 6th March 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Colin McNulty at 06/03/2019 - 16:33may be I can answer that, landlords are counted as owners. Owners can be a person or a trust, so not counted as occupiers. For the purpose of counting how many people occupy, or occupiers, ;landlords are excluded. That is as per my understanding.


18:44 PM, 20th September 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 20/02/2019 - 10:57
Wonder if you can help? My partner (male/female together over 20 yrs not married) have lived with a friend of the family (known him since childhood who has no family of his own) and we care for him. We both work. His part of the rent is covered by housing benefit ('HB'), ours we pay. I'm his official carer but take no payment for it, as I just felt it didn't seem right. We are having to move after many years together but, remaining together. Many estate agents won't even entertain us as they say we are not married and the person we care for is not related to us and so we'd be classed as HMO, and because of this they just stop correspondence on the spot. If we do get a reason they say they're clients will need a HMO licence and don't want to have the expense. Is this correct as we may not be a conventional family but we are family and so I think are we not an anomaly, are we really classed as three separate people? It is making it almost impossible to find somewhere, as him being on HB seems to already be an issue despite the fact he's on disability and has been for decades and can prove steady consistent payments and we earn a reasonable fair wage. The choice for where we want to live is limited as we also have a carer dog and this is just one more hurdle, any advice on the law? Thanks for any response/s in advance.


22:39 PM, 20th September 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mags at 20/09/2019 - 18:44
You are badly stuck, when that happens, what do you do? nothing you try to say truthfully can lead to a solution, so you are left with only one solution. lie, Lie lie, people lie so why don't you, just say you are married and no estate agent is going to ask for a marriage certificate, and your friend is your cousin, don't mention him, get a tenancy agreement under your joint name and then invite your friend or cousin, when millions of people lie, politician lie, you are not an exception, if the lettings agents find out and want to move you out, tough! they will have to give you a notice first and take you to court, by that time you may have lived there for months to years, so just do it, why not, I am a landlord and I have had my tenants lie to me, they all lie, the world is full of liars, sometimes you have to lie to save your life.

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