House in Multiple Occupation

The definition of a House in Multiple Occupation (commonly known as an H.M.O.) under the Housing Act 2004 is as follows:

‘An H.M.O. is a building or part of a building (e.g. a flat:)

  • in which more than one household resides as their only or main residence and shares an amenity e.g. kitchen or bathroom
  • which is a converted building that does not entirely comprise self-contained flats

NB: A household is defined as either a single person or members of the same family who are living together. People who are not related to each other by blood, marriage or in an equivalent relationship (in the case of persons of the same sex) each form a separate household.’



H.M.O.’s are usually occupied by students and young professionals and are arguably seen as the most profitable rental properties.

Cambridge is renowned as a student city with The University of Cambridge, Anglia Ruskin University, a number of Higher Education Colleges and Language Schools all being located in the city. Plus with many young professionals being employed at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, the Science Park and at the several of education intuitions previously mentioned, the demand for H.M.O. properties is always high.

The demand for H.M.O. properties across the UK as a whole is believed to steadily grow over the forthcoming years due to the highly competitive private rental market and changes to benefits. When thinking about purchasing or converting a property to an H.M.O., there are risks involved and they can involve much more work than a standard buy-to-let properties. The general reasons are as follows:


  1. Landlords will need a licence for the property to let as an H.M.O. from the local council in which the property is located.  The criteria of what is accepted as an H.M.O., i.e. the number of rooms in the property, number of storeys etc., varies by the ruling of each individual council.
  2. As tenants often share hallways, kitchens and bathrooms, H.M.O.’s tend to require more regular maintenance.
  3. The churn of tenants can often be higher than tenants living in standard buy-to-let properties as H.M.O. tenants often progress through their career paths or studies and move up the property ladder.


Mortgage lenders offer specific products for H.M.O. properties and some can lend on an unlimited number of rooms. If you are thinking of purchasing an H.M.O. why not contact us and we would be happy to discuss your requirements.

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