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A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is accommodation shared by several people who share facilities such as a bathroom, toilet or kitchen. Examples of houses in multiple occupation are:

  • flats or houses occupied by unrelated people that are used as their main residence
  • bedsits from houses that have been subdivided to supply separate accommodation along with shared facilities such as kitchen, toilet or bathroom
  • hostels and lodging houses or other large communal accommodation such as nurses or student accommodation
  • bed and breakfast accommodation or hotels where it is used as a main residence
  • lodgings or boarding accommodation with the owner in residence where the lodger is not part of the owner's family

By law an HMO must be licensed if it is the main residence of three or more people who are not all members of the same family or of one or other of two families.

If you are a tenant of a house in multiple occupation you should check that the house is licensed. If not then it may not meet safety requirements and you may be at risk. Please contact us to make sure the house you live in is registered. 

If you are a landlord of a house in multiple occupation you must obtain a license. If you fail to do so you are committing an offence and render yourself liable to prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000.

Council officers have powers to enter and search premises they suspect are being operated as an HMO. For further advice regarding the licensing scheme, the relevant standards or if you wish a licence application pack, please contact us on the number detailed below.  

Contact Information


Licensing Board Administration
London Road
East Ayrshire
Telephone: 07557 168826


Environmental Health - Regulatory Services
Telephone: 01563 576790