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What is a HMO? | Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) | Sandwell Council

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Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

What is a HMO?

We have created a Landlord Magazine that has a range of information regarding information about Tenants, Tenant Fee's, Housing Benefit, Universal Credit and a lot more! Please have a read of our magazine here. 

A HMO (Housing in Multiple Occupation) is when you have a minimum of 3 people in 2 households living together who are sharing amenities. The property will only become Licensable if there are 5 or more people in 2 or more households.

You can find out more about the HMO legislation by clicking on the link. 

To be classed as a HMO, a building or part of, must fall into one of these categories:

  • A building or flat in which more than one household shares a basic amenity, e.g. bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities. This is known as the 'standard test' or the 'self-contained flat test'. 
  • A building that has been converted and does not entirely comprise of self-contained flats. This is known as the 'converted building test'.
  • A building that is declared a HMO by the local authority.
  • A converted block of flats where the standard of the conversion does not meet the relevant building standards and fewer than two-thirds of the flats are owner-occupied.

There are 3 main types of HMOs: 

  1. Shared Housing. For example, a group of friends or students move into a property. They have their own bedrooms, but they will share any kitchens and/or bathrooms. They are often on the same tenancy agreement which means that they will move in and out of the property at the same time. 
  2. Bedsit Accommodation. This is where rooms are let to tenants individually, and don't know each other. The tenants have their own tenancy agreements which means that they will move in and out of the property at different times. Even though some won't be sharing, there may be some element of sharing either kitchens or bathrooms or both. 
  3. Studio Accommodation. This is where the room a tenant occupies has all the amenities they need behind their own front door, although it may be in a block of flats, converted house or building. These properties must meet the minimum sizes in order to be classed as self contained by planning. For any further information on these sizes then please click here.

You can ask us any questions about this through email: or by phone 0121 368 1177 option 7.

Please note that the type of HMO that you have, or plan on having, may affect the type of fire protection you need. It is also extremely essential that you are familiar with what is needed in HMOs, such as extra Fire Precautions, Management Regulations, Room Sizes and any Amenities that you will need, please see weblinks below.

Failure to comply with any of these HMO Standards could result in an unlimited fine or a Civil Penalty of £1000 per offence.

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