What is an HMO?

A simple definition of an HMO is a house or flat which is occupied by 3 or more unrelated persons. The term can apply to hostels, including student residences, bedsits and shared flats.

Recently introduced legislation requires that houses in multiple occupation are licensed by the Council.

Comprehensive information on HMO’s is available from the Better Renting Scotland (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) website.  

If you wish any further advice regarding the licensing scheme or the relevant standards, please Contact Consumer and Environmental Services.

To Landlords

Do you operate premises which require a licence? Landlords who continue to operate HMOs without a licence are committing an offence and render themselves liable to prosecution and a fine of up to 5,000.

Are your premises up to standard, clean and well maintained?

Do they have a legitimised planning status?

Have you:

  • upgraded the means of escape?
  • addressed gas and electrical safety issues?
  • fulfilled your common property responsibilities?

To Tenants

Do you live in a multiple occupation house or flat?

Illegal, unlicensed accommodation may not meet the Comhairle’s safety standards and residents may be at risk.

Have you concerns regarding:

  • Fire Safety?
  • Gas/Electrical Safety?
  • Facilities?
  • Standard of Repair?
  • Overcrowding?
  • Tenancy Issues?

Have you checked the licensing status of your accommodation with your landlord?

If you are unhappy or uncertain, if you wish further advice, or if you have any problems with the standard of your accommodation, please Contact Consumer and Environmental Services.

To Neighbours

Are there multi-occupied houses in your neighbourhood?

Where a licensing application has been submitted, a public notice requires to be displayed for 21 days, where it can be easily read, at or near the premises. You are entitled to object to an application, stating the grounds of your objection:

if you believe that unlicensed HMOs are being operated in your neighbourhood


if you are experiencing nuisance conditions arising from or associated with HMOs.

For further advice and for information regarding the licensing scheme, please Contact Consumer and Environmental Services.