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About Houses in Multiple Occupation

  • Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

    On Monday 1 April 2019, licensing laws for shared flats and houses changed. On this date the Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 (link opens in new window) came in to operation and local councils across NI took over responsibility for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) from the NI Housing Executive. 

    The purpose of the Act is to allow better regulation of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) by introducing a system of licensing and new provisions about standards of housing. It also aims to streamline the definition and clarify the law.

    All HMOs must be licensed by their local council unless a temporary exemption notice is in effect.

    Our NIHMO unit administers the regulation of HMOs on behalf of each of the 11 Northern Ireland councils.

  • What is a HMO?

    A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property which is: 

    • living accommodation
    • the main residence of three or more people who are from more than two households
    • rented by at least one of the people living in the accommodation

    Read more detail about HMOs.  

  • HMO Licensing Scheme

    All HMO owners must:

    • comply with the Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016, and
    • must have a licence from their local council to continue running it as an HMO (unless a temporary exemption notice is in effect).

    Read more about the licensing scheme.

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