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Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

An HMO is a house or flat that is let to 3 or more unrelated people (or 2 or more households) and who share basic amenities, i.e., a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.

HMO definition of a household

  • a household is defined as being where members of the same family live together.
  • one family is a single household.
  • a couple sharing with a third person is classified as 2 households
  • 3 friends sharing would be 3 households.

All HMOs must be registered and inspected

All HMOs within Basildon Borough must be registered with Basildon Council.

To register an HMO please contact the Environmental Health Services General Admin, see contact details at bottom of page.

All HMOs are subject to periodic inspection by the local council's environmental health services.  The frequency of an HMO inspection is determined by the level of health and safety risks which need to be monitored at the property.

HMO Licences - certain types of HMO must be licensed

At the present date, every HMO that meets the following conditions requires a licence from their local council:

  • it is occupied by 5 or more people
  • it is home to 2 or more households
  • the property has 3 or more storeys - including habitable basements, attics and commercial premises.

PLEASE NOTE - If you own or manage an HMO that matches the above conditions and should be licensed but you have not yet applied for a licence, then you must do so immediately or face the possibility of an unlimited fine.

From 1st October 2018 onwards

From 1st October 2018 the number of storeys in the property no longer applies, every HMO that meets the following conditions will require a licence from their local council:

  • it is occupied by 5 or more people
  • it is home to 2 or more households
  • at least one amenity (kitchen, bathroom, toilet) is shared.

Valid applications must be received by 1st October 2018.

How to apply

For full details on how to submit an HMO Licence application online or in writing see...

PLEASE NOTE: Before applying for an HMO Licence you should consider contacting Basildon Council Planning Services, to see if planning consent is required for any aspect of the property being used, or modified for use, as an HMO.

Penalties for failure to obtain an HMO Licence

Anyone operating such an HMO without the appropriate licence is committing an offence and risks:

  • a criminal record
  • a civil penalty of up to £30,000 or unlimited fine on summary conviction.

Landlords must comply with licence conditions to ensure properties are safe. Additionally, minimum space requirements are to be imposed to prevent exploitation by overcrowding.

    HMO legislation and guidance

    Category 1 Hazards

    All rented properties including HMOs must be free of Category 1 hazards as assessed under The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005 (HHSRS).  A list of 29 hazards are considered including damp and mould, excess cold and falls on stairs. For further information see...

    HMO legislation

    HMO standards are detailed within the Housing Act 2004, but in particular, HMOs must comply with the The Management Of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 whereby the owner or manager must:

    • Provide their contact details to tenants and display them prominently in the HMO.
    • Take safety measures including maintenance of fire fighting equipment and fire alarms; keep means of escape clear.
    • Provide and maintain adequate water supply and drainage systems.
    • Provide an interrupted supply of gas and/or electricity to the property. Supply a current gas test certificate (if gas supplied) by a recognised engineer.  Provide a fixed electrical installation certificate undertaken by a qualified person every 5 years.
    • Maintain the common parts, living accommodation, fixtures and fittings in safe and good repair.
    • Provide suitable and sufficient waste storage and disposal facilities.

    The following management checklist has been produced for the assistance of HMO owners and managers:

    At the present date, all HMOs must comply with:

    and in addition, from 1st October 2018 all HMOs...

    The Essex HMO Amenity Standards

    The Essex HMO Amenity Standards set down the number of toilets, bathrooms and kitchen facilities as well as room sizes for sleeping and communal living space where appropriate. For details see...

    HMO fire safety guidance

    Fire safety in HMOs is of paramount importance and whilst prescriptive standards cannot be given due to each property's individual risk assessment. Please consult the following sources for guidance:

    Further information and enquiries

    For further information and enquiries please contact us, see contact details below.

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