Click here to view the Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document


  1. The planning policy for Houses in Multiple Occupation
  2. Planning Permission and Licensing
  3. HMO Policy Background

Last updated: 14th October 2016

1.  The planning policy for Houses of Multiple Occupation

The Houses in Multiple Occupation in Bath Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) sets out Bath & North East Somerset Council’s approach to the distribution and dispersal of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).  This followed the Council’s implementation of an Article 4 Direction in relation to Houses of Multiple Occupation in the City of Bath .

There are more than 3,000 known HMOs in the district, most of which are in Bath.  The SPD is aimed at facilitating a sustainable community in Bath by encouraging a wide variety of households in all areas .  It also seeks to improve the standard, safety  and management of HMOs across the district.

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is defined by the Housing Act 2004 as:

  • A house or flat which is let to 3 or more unrelated tenants who share a kitchen, bathroom, or toilets. For example, properties let to students or bedsits; or
  • A building which is converted into non self-contained flats; or
  • A building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats and the conversion does not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one-third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies.

The HMO SPD contains a guide to help determine if a house is defined as an HMO .

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2. Planning Permission and Licensing

Houses of Multiple Occupation may require planning permission.  A 2 stage assessment process is used to help determine if permission is likely to be granted for changing the use of a property to an HMO.  Planning permission is likely to be refused in neighbourhoods with over 25% of the existing housing stock in use as HMOs :

Some HMOs with shared facilities must also be licensed, this is to ensure that ensure minimum standards of safety, welfare and management are maintained.  Landlords and managers of HMOs across Bath and North East Somerset may need to apply for a mandatory license, whilst those in Bath may also need to apply for an additional license:

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3. HMO Policy Background

The following links provide more information on the production of the Houses in Multiple Occupation in Bath SPD:

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