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What is an HMO?

Updated: 16 Feb 2019
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Some types of property are exempt from the regulations
HMO Derry
A HMO is a house occupied by more than 2 qualifying persons, being persons who are not all members of the same family.
A “qualifying person” is a person whose only or principal place of residence is the HMO. A student’s term time accommodation is regarded as the student’s only or principal place of residence while he/she is living there.
You are considered to be a member of the same family if you are the spouse (or you live together as husband and wife), civil partner (or you live together as if you are civil partners), parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother/sister, uncle/aunt, nephew/niece of the other person.


The following categories are exempt from registration:
  • any HMO which is occupied by persons who comprise no more than two families
  • any HMO which is occupied by no more than two persons in addition to the owner (or owners) and members of the family (or families) of owner(s).

HMO property types

The statutory definition from the 1992 Order applies to a broad range of different properties which, by their nature, carry specific risks and responsibilities in terms of health and safety, particularly fire safety.
For operational purposes we have adopted the classification described in the Environmental Health Officers’ professional practice notes. These are as follows:
Category Property type Description
Category A Flatlets & Bedsits Some sharing of amenities - usually a bathroom/wc
Category B Shared Houses
Normally students.
All facilities usually shared
Category C Lodgings Meals provided
Category D
Hostels, B&B,
Where people live as their main home, not just visiting
Category E Residential homes
Category F Self-contained flats (created by conversion)