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Do I need Planning permission for my HMO?

Houses in multiple occupation HMOs are defined as a house or a flat in which 2 or more households live as their only or main residence and where some of these households share basic facilities, such as a kitchen toilet or bathroom. HMOs also include:

  • converted buildings that include non-self-contained flats

  • buildings that include self-contained flats and which meet certain tests

  • other buildings where basic facilities are missing

A household could be a single person, or members of the same family living together.

If there are 3 or more people living together in a flat or a building and they are not all in the same household, for example a shared student house, the building or flat may be classified as an HMO.

An HMO is regarded as a person's main or only residence if:

  • they are living in an HMO as a full time student in higher education (except for most halls of residence managed by the universities)

  • the HMO is occupied as a refuge for persons fleeing domestic violence

  • the HMO is occupied by migrant or seasonal workers

  • the HMO is occupied by asylum seekers in accommodation partly or wholly funded by the National Asylum Support Scheme

Some HMOs, occupied by 5 or more will require licensing. Please speak to your local authority.

Planning permission

Properties that were previously occupied by a single family which are converted into HMOs may require Planning Permission as a change of use – this is applicable to houses of over 6 persons. In addition, most student areas are subject to further controls to stop new development unless there is less than 20% HMOs within 200m of the house.

Business premises converted into residential accommodation, regardless of the proposed number of occupants will need Planning Permission.

Fire Safety Order

HMOs will need to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This is often referred to as the RRO or just the Fire Safety Order.

These will typically be houses let as bedsits, hostels and blocks of flats.

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