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The Council is responsible for checking Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to make sure they are in a satisfactory condition, are safe, have satisfactory means of escape from fire, have sufficient bathrooms and kitchens, have adequate space and proper management.

What is a HMO?

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a house, which is occupied by people who do not form a single household. (A single household is a group of people who are members of the same family, either living together as a couple or close relatives). Examples of a HMO could be:
  • Shared houses, occupied by more than two individuals.
  • A house let as individual bedsits.
  • A group of rooms on each floor let to single occupants.
  • Hostels, some hotels, guesthouses.
  • Lodgings, and shared houses.
  • Houses converted into self-contained flats.




Some or all of the legislation relating to HMO's will not apply to:


  • Houses or flats with only two persons.
  • Resident landlord plus two separate tenants.
  • Houses converted entirely into self contained flats with Building Regulations Approval, where at least one third are owner occupied.
  • Housing associations and Local authority owned property.
  • Houses registered under the Children Act 1989, Registered Homes Act 1984.
  • Educational establishments and Health Service accommodation.


What are the Standards?


A HMO has to meet the following standards:


  • Have suitable means of escape in case of fire and other fire precautions.
  • Have adequate basic amenities such as kitchens, bathrooms toilets and wash hand basins.
  • Not be overcrowded, having regard to the number and size of rooms.
  • Be fit for occupation and in good repair.
  • Meet management standards.
  • Meet gas and electrical safety requirements.
If conditions in the properties inspected are not up to standard, the landlord or owner is required to improve them.
It is the responsibility of the manager of the HMO to ensure that the following are maintained in good repair, clean condition and good order (including, where appropriate, proper working order):
  • Water Supply, Drainage and General Services.
  • Parts and Installations in Common Use. (Including installations for the supply of gas and electricity, sanitary conveniences, baths, sinks, washbasins and installations for cooking or storing food).
  • Living Accommodation.
  • Lighting, Windows and Ventilation.
  • Means of Escape from Fire.
  • Outbuildings in Common Use.

Why are Fire Precautions needed?

There is a significant risk of fire in HMO's and fire statistics show most types of HMO's to have a greater risk of fire than houses occupied by single families. There are a variety of reasons for this increased risk but, because it exists, Councils have powers to require adequate means of escape in case of fire and other fire precautions.

Are Gas Safety and Electrical Test Certificates required every year?

All gas installations and appliances MUST be safety checked and maintained annually by a suitably qualified CORGI registered gas installer and the installation must meet the requirements of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. 
All electrical installations should ideally be in compliance with 'B.S.7671:1992 - Requirements for electrical installations', with works being carried out by an authorised competent person registered with NICEIC or NAPIT or another accredited self-certification scheme. 

What can I do if my landlord/agent does not carry out repairs or improvements?

Council Officers are pleased to offer advice and are available to take more formal action in cases where legal enforcement is needed to encourage a landlord/agent to carry out necessary repairs or improvements.

Who is responsible for the HMOs in South Staffordshire?

The Environmental & Health District and Housing Team enforce current legal standards.

Does the HMO need to be licensed?

From the 5th April 2005 HMO’s in buildings of 3 or more storeys, which are occupied by 5 or more people, and where there is some sharing of amenities or facilities within the property, will need to be licensed by the council.
How to Access this Service

For more information regarding safety inspections for homes in multiple occupation, please contact a member of the District and Housing Team:


Environmental Protection Team

Legal and Public Health Protection

South Staffordshire Council
Council Offices
South Staffordshire


You can also speak with a relevant member of staff by using the contact details below.


There are no associated costs for contacting a member of staff regarding safety inspections for homes in multiple occupation.

Main Contact

Homes in Multiple Occupation Enquiries

Telephone: (01902) 696000
Fax: (01902) 696222
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