What is an HMO?

Why are HMOs so popular?
An HMO, short for House in Multiple Occupation, is a property that is rented out to three or more people who do not belong to the same family or household. Such properties are characterized by the sharing of common amenities such as kitchens, bathrooms, and living spaces. In this article, we will answer the question; ‘What is an HMO?’, and explore why they are so popular for tenants and landlords in London.

What exactly is an HMO?

As defined above, an HMO, or House in Multiple Occupation, refers to a type of rental property where multiple tenants live together, but do not belong to the same household. Unlike traditional rental properties, where the tenant rents a whole place, HMO tenants rent a bedroom and share common areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and living spaces.

Living in a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) has become increasingly popular among students, young professionals, and individuals seeking a shared living experience. By providing communal spaces and facilities, HMOs foster a sense of community, which is advantageous for building social networks and making new connections. This is especially beneficial for newcomers to a city or country who are seeking an inclusive and welcoming environment.

What is a household?

A household is a group of people who live together in the same dwelling, as a single unit and share living expenses, such as rent, utilities, and groceries. A household is usually a family, a couple or an individual renting a room in a property sharing facilities with people who are unrelated. Click on the link to read more information about what a household is, along with examples.

What is an HMO licence?

An HMO licence is a licence issued by the local authority that allows a landlord to rent out a house in multiple occupation (HMO). An HMO licence is compulsory if the property meets the criteria for mandatory licensing, selective licensing, or additional licensing. Click on the link to read more information about HMO licences.

What are HMO requirements?

HMO requirements are the standards that must be met in order for a property to be licenced as a house in multiple occupation. These requirements vary depending on the location, but typically include minimum room sizes, sufficient communal areas, adequate sanitation facilities, and compliance with safety regulations such as fire safety, gas safety, and electrical safety.

Why are HMOs so Popular in London?

The demand for HMOs in London far outstrips the supply, as more and more people (especially young people) are flocking to the city in search of better opportunities, experiences, and a higher standard of living. The city’s vibrant culture, exciting entertainment options, diverse communities, and abundance of job opportunities make it a highly attractive destination for young people compared to other parts of the country.

The demand for HMOs in London has also been influenced by the changing lifestyle patterns of young people. Studies have shown that people are getting into serious relationships later in life, getting married, and having children later, leading to a lifestyle that is more suited to living in a house share, rather than moving into a single dwelling with a partner. This has resulted in the demographic of HMO tenants becoming more diverse, ranging from early twenties to late thirties.

Ten years ago, HMOs were primarily occupied by individuals in their twenties. However, with the trend of people delaying major life milestones, HMOs are now attracting a wider range of individuals who are looking for a more flexible and affordable housing solution.

This change in lifestyle patterns has contributed to the growing popularity of HMOs in London. With a more diverse demographic of tenants, HMOs are now seen as a viable housing option for a wider range of individuals, and not just students or young professionals.

Another primary reason why HMOs are so common in London is due to the high cost of living in the city. The city’s housing market is extremely competitive, with prices for single occupancy rentals often far beyond the reach of many young people, students, and those on a low income. HMOs provide a more affordable housing option for these individuals, as the cost of rent and utilities can be divided among multiple tenants.


What is an HMO? Essentially, an HMO stands for House in Multiple Occupation, which is a type of co-living property also known as a houseshare. HMOs have gained popularity in recent years, particularly in London, due to the lower cost of renting a room rather than a whole property, as well as the flexibility and opportunity to build a sense of community.

If you are looking for a specialist HMO Letting Agent to let or manage your HMO in South London, feel free to contact us today, or if you need any expert advice regarding HMO matters.

Carl Evans, CEO

Written By Carl Evans, CEO

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