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Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property occupied by 3 or more people (including children) who form more than 1 household and share a facility such as a toilet, kitchen or bathroom.

You should report a concern with a property anywhere in Basildon borough that you think:
          •    is being used as an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
          •    has too many full-time occupants for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), either licensed or unlicensed
          •    falls below required safety standards for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

See Report a concern with a House in Multiple Occupation (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 two households
  • three friends sharing would be three 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 at the property.

HMO Licences - certain types of HMO must be licensed

Every HMO that meets the following conditions will require a licence from their local council:

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

How to apply for a HMO Licence

For information 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 in force 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 and these include; damp and mould, excess cold and falls on stairs. For further information please 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 applicable 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:

    All HMOs must comply with:

    HMOs are also:

    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 please 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 see contact details below...

    Environmental Health Services - Admin