When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Sharing your accommodation

This page only contains basic information and is the English version of our translated content.  For more detailed advice and information on housing in Northern Ireland in the English language, use the menu options on the homepage. 

There are special rules for your home if you live in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Is your home a HMO?

Your home is a HMO if:

  • Three or more people live in it; AND
  • There are at least three separate households or families in the property; AND
  • At least one person in the property is paying rent.

Who counts as a family or household member?

The following people are counted as members of your family for HMO purposes:

  • Your partner;
  • Your parents
  • Your grandparents
  • Your children or grandchildren
  • Your brother or sister
  • Your uncle or aunt
  • Your nephew or niece

Your partner’s relatives will also be counted as members of your family.

Standards in HMOs

Your landlord or agent must follow certain rules about how to look after your HMO. These rules explain how the HMO should be managed and the standards and amenities that have to be provided.

All HMOs in Northern Ireland have to be licensed. If your home is a HMO but it doesn’t appear on the council’s list of licensed HMOs your landlord has broken the law.

Getting help with problems in HMOs

Speak to Belfast City Council’s HMO unit if you are worried about conditions in your HMO. The council can help if

  • The property is unsafe
  • The owner or manager does not have a license
  • There are too many people living in the HMO
  • There are problems with how people are behaving in or around the HMO
  • The owner or manager is not managing the HMO properly.