HMO licensing - frequently asked questions

What is an HMO?

HMO stands for House in Multiple Occupation. However, it does not have to be a house. It can be a building or a part of a building if...

  • it is used for living accommodation
  • by more than two people
  • who are not part of the same family
  • who share one or more basic amenities (bath/shower, WC or kitchen)
  • and pay rent

In certain circumstances, some properties converted into flats can also be HMOs.

As far as licensing is concerned, attics and basements are included as storeys if they are used as part of the living accommodation. Previously HMOs were only defined as houses converted into flats or bedsits, but the new act widens this definition and many more shared houses are now included. In Brighton & Hove this is likely to affect a lot of student housing.

What does licensing mean?

Landlords have to complete application forms and pay a fee, and we then assess whether the property is suitable for the number of people the landlord wants to rent it to. In most cases, we will visit the property to assess if kitchen facilities and fire precautions are adequate. We will then decide whether or not to grant a licence and if the licence needs to include any conditions requiring any changes. We have to consult with the landlord about the proposed licence before we finalise it.

Why were the additional licensing schemes brought in?

When and what is the scheme?

What is the process?

What are the conditions and are standards being revised?