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An HMO is a home where:

  • Three or more people live, and
  • At least two groups of people live separately within the home, and
  • Facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens are shared between the groups of people living there

Therefore, this may include properties such as bedsits and shared houses.


Some houses in multiple occupation (HMO) can contain dangerous hazards.

By making sure that there are standards within these types of properties, our officers can ensure that most hazards can be removed or reduced to acceptable levels.

Officers can use legal enforcement powers to ensure that standards are met.

Download the Houses in Multiple Occupation Standards for information about reducing or removing hazards in HMOs.

Managing houses in multiple occupation

Management regulations ensure that managers (such as the owner/landlord and/or the agent of a HMO) manage the property correctly.

A well managed HMO should be clean and tidy, safe and suitable for living in. Management Regulations ensure that:

  • Provisions like washing and cooking facilities are adequate
  • There are adequate arrangements for the collection and proper disposal of rubbish
  • Water, gas and electricity is properly supplied and discharged.

Regulations also place duties on the occupiers to make sure they avoid causing damage, properly store and dispose waste and that conduct themselves in a way not to hinder or frustrate the manager in performing their duties.

The related regulations are:


Under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004, owners and landlords must now get a licence to manage certain larger, higher-risk HMOs. This is to improve conditions and management standards.

It is the law that a property must be licensed if it meets these three conditions:

  • 5 or more people live there, where there are two or more groups of people living together
  • Facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens are shared

If you believe you live in, or own, or manage an HMO in Oldham that is unlicensed you must contact the Enforcement Team. Any owner or landlord of a property which isn't licensed but should be, could face an unlimited fine.


Contact the Housing Team for fee information.

We highly recommend that if you own or manage an HMO that you get in touch with us to discuss the property before applying for a licence.

The applicant must be the most appropriate person to be the licence holder (i.e. has control of the property).

Please note that our officers:

  • Must decide whether the applicant is a ‘fit and proper person’
  • Must be satisfied with the proposed management arrangements
  • Must decide that the HMO is reasonably suitable for a specific number of people or households, or that it can be made suitable by imposing certain conditions
  • Will arrange to inspect the property within two weeks of the application to check it is safe and suitable to live in

If our officers are happy that everything is satisfactory, they will send a 'Notice of Intention to Grant a Licence'.

When fully approved, they will then grant a licence to the applicant with any conditions attached. This will also detail how many people can live within the property.