Changes to Multiple Occupation House (HMO) Rules

By Clarkes

Are you a landlord who lets out rooms to individuals or groups forming two or more separate households?  If so, make sure you are up to date on the latest housing rental rules.  Emma Evans of Clarkes Solicitors explains.  

The Ministry of Housing has recently put into effect changes to the law which affect landlords who let to multiple households in the same property. 

Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler MP, claimed that these new laws have been put in place to “ensure people benefit from better quality accommodation across the country” and that houses are “maintained to a decent standard”. 


Do I need a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) licence?  

You will need to obtain a ‘house in multiple occupation’ licence if you are a landlord with properties that are occupied by 5 or more individuals (not related to one another) that share facilities. This may be a household of students or young professionals, or any other group of unrelated people. 

The rules used only to apply to properties  of three or more storeys high, but now all properties that fall under this ‘multiple occupation by 5 or more people’ category will require landlords to possess a HMO licence which may involve considerable expenditure on property upgrades.


What does getting a licence involve? 

In order to obtain a HMO licence, you must prove to the council that you are a ‘fit and proper’ landlord.

The property must also undergo an inspection to make sure it is of a suitable standard for the number of residents. All bedrooms in the property must be at least 6.5 square metres in order to pass the standard. Councils must also ensure tenants have suitable space to store their rubbish outside homes.

The rules came into force on 1 October 2018. If a landlord fails to obtain a licence or the property is deemed to be unsuitable, action could be taken by local authorities. The rules will impact more than 170,000 properties across the UK, almost tripling the amount of licences required.

Emma Evans, Residential Property expert and Conveyancing Executive at Clarkes Telford Centre office, said ‘I regularly act for landlords purchasing houses for proposed HMO use and this is an additional factor to be taken into account in assessing the overall cost and feasibility of HMO conversion.’

If you are proposing to purchase a HMO, are already a landlord who has been affected and want assistance in obtaining a licence or if you just want to be sure of your legal obligations, contact Emma Evans on 01952 278164, email

More information can be found here: