Houses in Multiple Occupation: Guidance on Planning Control and Licensing

Guidance on planning control and licensing in relation to Houses in Multiple Occupation.


5. HMOs provide a vital source of accommodation, and planning authorities should seek to ensure that an adequate supply is available to meet demand. Demand for HMOs should be met where it arises, and local authorities should consider HMOs when developing local housing strategies and development plans.

6. There is no definition of a HMO in planning legislation; for the purposes of licensing, Part 5 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, as amended, defines that living accommodation is a HMO within the meaning of the Act if it is:

  • occupied by three or more persons from three or more families, and
  • occupied by them as their only or main residence or in some other manner specified by the Scottish Ministers by order, and
  • either a house, premises or a group of premises owned by the same person with shared basic amenities, or some other type of accommodation specified by the Scottish Ministers by order.

The formation of a HMO will not always require planning permission. Planning permission for a HMO is generally required only where use as a HMO is considered to be a material change of use [2] .


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