Houses in multiple occupation

A house in multiple occupancy (HMO) is where three or more people who do not form a single household live and there are shared facilities such as a bathroom or kitchen.

Only HMO's which are occupied by five or more people need to be licensed. For more information visit House in multiple occupancy licence

To safeguard the health, safety and well-being of residents within West Suffolk who live in houses in multiple occupation we ensure the application and maintenance of standards in these properties.

Mandatory licensing for houses in multiple occupation

The law relating to shared houses or houses in multiple occupation changed on 1 October 2018. Landlords of most houses in multiple occupation (HMO's) that house five or more people and are not a single household need to have an HMO licence.

A landlord who fails to apply for a licence will be committing a criminal offence.

Summary of changes

  • All HMO's with five or more people living in two or more households, regardless of the number of storey's in the property, will need to be licensed. This includes any flat which contains five or more people living in two or more households where the flat has not been purpose-built to multiple occupant standards. This applies to flats above or below commercial premises.
  • All licensable HMO's will have a national minimum room size for each bedroom.

Guidance on electrical sockets

It is important that number of electrical sockets provided in a property is suitable for the number of occupants. Please see Electrical Safety First - Guidance on minimum provision of electrical socket-outlets in the home for further information.

If an HMO is not being maintained in a clean and tidy condition or health and safety risks are not being managed, you should contact your landlord to try to resolve the issue.

If you have given your landlord what you consider to be a fair and reasonable period of time to investigate and complete any necessary works but no progress has been made you can contact the Private Sector Housing and Environmental Health team for advice or to arrange a HMO inspection.

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