Houses in multiple occupation

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a building, or part of a building, that is being lived in by a group of people.

For example:

  • A house or flat converted into three or more bedsits
  • A house or flat occupied by three or more friends, work colleagues or students
  • A house that has self-contained flats where less than two thirds of the flats are owner-occupied. The flats were not converted in accordance with the 1991 Building Regulations

Help, information and guidance

We have put together a handbook for landlords about HMOs

It contains information about:

  • licenses
  • fire safety
  • space standards
  • planning applications
  • what should be expected from a landlord and a tenant


All HMOs occupied by five or more people need a licence.  It is an offence to operate without a licence.

The fee for a licence is £551.

You can apply for a licence by downloading the form below:

Application for an HMO licence (Word document)
Application for an HMO licence (PDF document)

Once the form is complete, email the Private Sector Housing Team or send it to:

Private Sector Housing
Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils
Endeavour House
8 Russell Road
Ipswich IP1 2BX

We publish a register of licenses issued:

Fire and amenity standards

There are fire standards that should be followed. These are minimum standards and should be used as a guide only.

The actual provisions needed will depend on the findings of a risk assessment. This will be carried out by one of our officers.

Please download the fire and amenity standards for HMOs for more information.