Properties requiring a licence

Shared houses

Where occupiers live together as a group, each with their own bedroom but sharing all other facilities including a communal living space.


Where occupiers share a bathroom, toilet, kitchen etc, but otherwise live independently of others.

Converted self-contained flats

Where the conversion does not meet the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations and less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied.

Occupiers live in a self-contained unit, sharing no facilities or amenities, often behind one access door off a common area.

Individual flats occupied by three or more unrelated people

Where occupiers live together as a group, each with exclusive use of a bedroom but sharing all other facilities, including a communal living space within the flat.

This applies even if the property has been converted to the 1991 Building Regulations.

Hostels, guesthouses, bed and breakfast

Occupiers have no other permanent place of residence within the UK.

Includes properties used by local councils to house homeless people.

Resident landlords

A landlord living in the same building as three or more unrelated people.

Also any combination of the above property types which make up the same building.

HMO licensing relates to the number of unrelated people occupying a property and is not affected by joint tenancy agreements, company let agreements, council tax payee responsibility, housing benefit claimants, homeless.

Single households

Section 258 of the Housing Act 2004 explains when people are seen as not forming a single household.

To count as a single household, people must be members of the same family, including married couples, or those living as husband and wife, including those in a same sex relationship, or where one is a relative of the other, e.g. parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece or cousin, and half relatives, step-children and foster children.  


There are several exemptions under the Housing Act 2004, see page two of the HMO Guidance Notes (pdf).