A House in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property occupied by more than one household. Properties that are occupied by five or more people, and are three or more stories must have a licence. From 1 October 2018, properties that are occupied by five or more, regardless of the number of storeys, must have a licence.
Go to the National HMO network website for a more detailed explanation of the types of HMOs under the Housing Act 2004.
HMOs must provide certain facilities for use by the tenants. Specific requirements can be downloaded in the prescribed standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation. You will find these in the appropriate council below.
Fire Safety guidance is provided at Gov.uk fire safety guidance. We work alongside our colleagues at East Sussex Fire and Rescue to ensure compliance in all areas. Please contact us if you require further advice.
HMOs also have legal standards for the management and maintenance. These are set out in the HMO Management Regulations;
The 2006 Regulations apply to shared HMOs
The 2007 Regulations applied to self-contained HMOs
If you live in and HMO and are concerned about the standards, or your landlord is not undertaking repairs you can report this to us for investigation.
Check if a property is licensed
You can check if a property is licensed by downloading the HMO register for the appropriate council below.
How to apply for or renew an HMO licence
Please select the council that you wish to apply to below.
The landlord of an HMO will need to apply for a licence if the HMO property meets all of the following criteria;
- is over three or more stories. This includes basements, shops and loft conversions (this criteria will change on 1 October 2018)
- has five or more tenants
- with some sharing of facilities
It is an offence to fail to license an HMO, and the landlord can be prosecuted. You can check if a property has a licence by choosing the correct council below and checking the HMO register. If you are aware of an HMO operating without a licence you can report this to us, and we will investigate.
Students and host families
Licensing also applies to host families that have four or more students in a property, regardless of the number of storeys, for 90 or more days in any year (the criteria for number of storeys changes on 1 October 2018).
If your property has three or more students for less than 90 days in any year, it may still be categorised as an HMO though it will not require a licence.