What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

A house in multiple occupation is a house occupied by people who do not live as a single household. This can include bedsits, shared houses, hostels, non-self contained flats and houses converted into flats. Hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments that are used to accommodate homeless people or asylum seekers are also HMOs.

Houses or buildings occupied by only one household are not HMOs.

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.

New changes to HMO licensing

The restriction to properties three or more storeys in height no longer applies. From 1 October 2018, mandatory HMO licensing applies to HMOs which are occupied by five or more people regardless of the number of storeys.

This includes shared houses, flats, bedsits with shared facilities and buildings converted into a mixture of self-contained and non-self-contained accommodation.

Multi-occupied self-contained flats within purpose built blocks that contain three or more self-contained flats are excluded even if occupied by five or more people.

New minimum bedroom sizes in licensed HMOs

New minimum bedroom sizes must be applied as a condition on all HMO licences approved from 1 October 2018.

The new minimum bedroom sizes are:

  • 4.64 square metres for a bedroom occupied by a child under 10 years old
  • 6.51 square metres for a bedroom occupied by a person over 10 years old
  • 10.22 square metres for a bedroom occupied by two people over 10 years old

Under certain circumstances, we may require bedrooms to be larger than these minimum room sizes and you should refer to our Amenity Standards guidance.

If a property is found to be over-occupied when the licence is approved, we can issue a notification allowing up to 18 months for the issue to be resolved, either by evicting the occupant(s) or carrying out internal alterations to make the room larger.

Waste disposal

The licence holder must also comply with any scheme which is provided by Gravesham Borough Council and which relates to the storage and disposal of household waste at the HMO pending collection and will be a mandatory condition on the licence.

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.