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Houses in multiple occupation

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) comprise property known as bedsits, lodgings, shared houses and some converted self-contained flats. The main feature is that there is sharing of facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms/WCs so that occupiers do not have exclusive use of their own facilities.

Legal definition an HMO

  • Traditional bedsit type houses where tenants have their own room or rooms but share something like a bathroom or kitchen.
  • Shared houses where people live as a group but are not a family group.
  • Houses occupied by the owner (residential landlord) plus two or more lodgers or house sharers*
  • Mixtures of rooms and flats in a house – as long as there is some sharing;
  • Flats that are let out to sharers, 3 or more;
  • Hostels, projects and other residential uses that involve adults sharing living space (but not if the property is owned or managed by a Registered Social  landlord).
  • Houses converted into self contained flats where they do not meet the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations, and at least one third of the flats are occupied under shorthold tenancies.

See the full definition of a HMO in the Housing Act 2004 under section 254 or read an overview of HMOs on GOV.UK

Planning requirements for HMOs

We are proposing to withdraw permitted development rights for small HMOs in urban areas of Bedford and Kempston. A consultation was carried out between November 2019 and January 2020.