What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

An HMO is a building or part of a building which meets one of the following tests:

  1. The Standard test - Any building in which two or more households share basic amenities. For example toilets, kitchens, and bathrooms.
  2. The Self-contained flat test - Any flat in which two or more households share basic amenities. For example toilets, kitchens, and bathrooms.
  3. The Converted building test  - Any converted building comprised of one or more units of accommodation that are not self-contained.
  4. Certain converted blocks of flats - Any converted building comprised of self-contained flats that does not meet the 1991 Building Regulation Standards, and less than two-thirds of the self-contained flats are owner-occupied.

If a HMO fits  A. The Standard Test, or B. The Self-contained flat test, or C. The Converted building test  and it has five or more people living there, and those in occupation make up more than one household (family unit), the property must have a HMO licence.

Mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) aims to improve the standards of management and repair within HMOs.

HMOs can present a particular problem in the rented sector and although there are many good landlords, there are some who are unable or unwilling to manage their properties properly.

Is your property classed as a HMO?

See if your property is classed as a HMO using our HMO Checker.

Amenity standards

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) play an important role in local housing markets across Kent. HMOs are increasingly becoming more diverse as housing pressures, costs rise, and a wider range of residents seek some form of shared accommodation. We want to ensure that this existing and growing sector has clear guidance on how to develop suitable accommodation with some flexible options based on an understanding of the housing stock and the need for good quality HMOs across the borough.

See our Guidance to HMO Amenity Standards document. This guidance is intended to assist in the provision of accommodation in Houses in Multiple Occupation which contributes to a safe and healthy environment for the occupants and any visitors.

Where landlords and managers have any question or require clarity, please contact the Private Sector Housing Team by phone 01474 337960 or email hmo@gravesham.gov.uk.

Public Register

The Housing Act 2004 requires every local authority to maintain a public register of licensed HMOs in the borough. The link below provides details of the compact version. If you require further details of the register, please contact the Private Housing Team at hmo@gravesham.gov.uk or telephone 01474 33 74 66.

The HMO Public Register provides details of all HMO licences in the borough.