Houses in Multiple Occupation

Apply for an HMO licence

Any property which has 5 or more people (forming 2 or more households), where there is sharing of kitchens, WC, or bathrooms will need an HMO licence. We have produced step by step guidance on how to make your application, along with details of the fees.

How to apply for an HMO licence >

Register of HMOs

We must maintain a public register of Licenced Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs). This is required under the Housing Act 2004 Part II. The register shows all licenced HMOs in Cornwall.

View the register of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) >

Report a concern about an HMO

If you are worried about a property that appears to be shared by a large number of people, please let us know by competing the following form. 

Report a concern about an HMO >



Information for HMO tenants

What is the legal definition of a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

Under the Housing Act 2004, a building or part of a building is an HMO if:

  • It meets the stand test
  • It meets the self-contained flat test
  • It meets the converted building test
  • A declaration notice is in force
  • It is a converted block of flats

Duties of the HMO Manager

Under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 managers must ensure that good conditions are maintained. 

The Managers of HMOs Duties leaflet explains what is required by the regulations in relation to the following provisions:

  • Safety of Residents
  • Refuse and Litter
  • Windows & Ventilation
  • Communal Areas
  • Individual Living Areas
  • Water & Fuel Supplies
  • Provision of information

Duties of Residents

Residents must:

  • Allow the Manager reasonable access to carry out their duties
  • Give the Manager any information they need in order to carry out their duties
  • Comply with reasonable arrangements for fire safety and refuse disposal

Residents must not:

  • Hinder the Manager in the performance of their duties
  • Cause damage to anything which the Manger must keep in repair

What happens if the Manager does not manage the property correctly?

If a manager has failed to manage a property correctly and has breached the regulations, the Council will take action. 

Managers are notified of any breaches by a formal letter stating

  • The contraventions observed
  • Works required to be carried out
  • A timescale for completion

Failure to resolve these breaches may lead to prosecution.

If the management of the property is so poor that it presents an imminent risk to the health, safety, and well-being of the tenants, the Council has the power to take action against the Manager without giving notice of the defects. 

If taken to court, Managers may face fines of up to £5,000 for each regulation that has been breached. 

A Civil Penalty Notice may be issued as an alternative to prosecution.