House in multiple occupation (HMO) definition

What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?

The Housing Act 2004 introduced a new definition of a house in multiple occupation. The new definition is detailed and complex.

Generally a house in multiple occupation will be a property occupied by more than one household and more than two people, and may include bedsits, shared houses and some self contained flats.

Houses fully converted into self contained flats will generally not be HMOs provided that they were/are converted in accordance with the appropriate building regulation standards. This will, as a minimum be the 1991 regulations.

The council may declare a property to be a HMO where there is significant usage of the property as a HMO.

Do I need planning permission to convert my property into a HMO?

You may require planning permission to convert your property to a HMO. See our planning pages for more information including the Article 4 direction for small house in multiple occupation.

If you apply for a HMO licence (Mandatory or Additional) and the property has changed use from C3 (family) to C4 (HMO) or Sui Generis (HMO) without planning permission, you may be granted a licence for only a 12 months period. We will consider every application on its own merits. During this 12 months period, its is expected that you take the opportunity to regularise and put the planning affairs of your property in order by applying for Change of Use permission.

Do you have building control approval?

Building control approval does not ensure that your property is HMO compliant. You will still need to ensure your HMO meets Salford’s HMO standards and management regulations. 

What housing standards apply to HMOs?

All HMOs in Salford must adhere to the council's HMO standards. These standards cover things like minimum room sizes, amenity standards and fire safety requirements.

The council will also have regard to The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006.

Below, you can download a copy of Salford’s HMO standards along with a copy of the Lacors fire safety guidance document.

Do I need a Fire Risk Assessment for my HMO?

All Mandatory HMOs and HMOs which are subject to Additional HMO Licensing will need a written fire risk assessment. The requirement to submit a fire risk assessment is made under The Housing Act 2004 and you will be required to supply this with your application.

Fire Risk Assessments for certain other buildings are also covered under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

What is a Fire Safety Certificate?

This is an annual test certificate, which is usually completed by a qualified Electrician or competent fire safety expert, and will confirm that the fire alarm detection system that is installed, is in correct working order.

Need guidance for fitting fire doors?

The following video is a helpful guide for fitting fire doors.

Does my HMO need a licence?

If your HMO has five or more people who form two or more households, you will need a Mandatory HMO Licence.

If your HMO has three or four people who form more than two or more households, you will need an additional HMO licence.

When a licence is granted, a number of licence conditions must be adhered to. These can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.

If your three or four person HMO currently falls in a selective licence area and has a selective licence you will not require an additional HMO licence until that selective licence designation ends.

Alternatively, if your HMO falls in a Selective Licensing area.

What management regulations apply to my HMO?

There are two sets of regulations:

This legislation places certain duties on the individuals managing the property and no compliance with these regulations may result in a prosecution and/or fine (including a civil penalty).

Who pays the council tax on a HMO?

Please check with the council tax team.

Can I get advice on converting a property into a HMO?

From 17 July 2017, the council will introduce a charge for providing HMO advice.

The charge will be £880 per HMO up to 12 bedrooms (for 13 or more bedrooms a further charge of £40 per additional bedroom will be applied). You will receive three site visits to the HMO, detailed written advice including compliance with space standards, amenity standards, fire safety provisions, landlord licensing requirements and compliance with HHSRS and overcrowding. Should the property be subject to Mandatory HMO Licensing, and on condition that a licence application is submitted within two months of advice being issued, the licence fee will be reduced by £496. If you require more than three site visits, the mandatory HMO fee will not be reduced.

Should you wish to take up this service you must supply us with the following information:

  • Full address of the property
  • Floor plans showing the property layout, intended use for each room and the size of each room in metres squared
  • Details of how you intend to let the property, eg – house share where all tenants are on one tenancy agreement or separate tenancy agreements for each room you let out

This service does not replace the requirement to obtain planning permission, if required.

Request and pay for advice relating to a HMO property conversion

Apply for a HMO licence

You can apply for a HMO licence or renew a Mandatory HMO licence below:

Apply for a HMO licence

Where do I complain about a HMO?

You can report a problem HMO to us by completing the online form on our complain about a rented property page.

This page was last updated on 13 April 2023

Rate this page