A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property that is shared by three or more tenants who are not living together as a family and who share basic amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities but have separate bedrooms.

Some aspects of HMOs are governed by the planning system.

Do I need planning permission for a HMO?

If the property is in Loughborough and has three or more unrelated tenants, or outside Loughborough and has more than six  unrelated tenants then you will need planning permission for a HMO.

Usually a family home will have permitted development rights that allow for a change of use to a HMO occupied by three to six unrelated people without the need for planning permission, and vice versa. However, in 2011 we removed these rights across Loughborough for the change of use from a family dwelling to a HMO so that we could have more control of future developments.

This planning control, which is called an Article 4 Direction, means that any change of use from a family dwelling in Loughborough to a HMO after February 12, 2012, will always require planning permission.

A HMO with more than six unrelated people sharing is deemed to be a ‘Larger’ HMO and will always require planning permission, whether in Loughborough or elsewhere.

HMOs occupied by five or more tenants will also require an additional mandatory licence from the council. 


  • What if an existing HMO is left vacant for a period?
    • If a property that is in HMO use is left empty it would continue to be classed as a HMO unless, when it is re-occupied, it is used by a family or less than three unrelated individuals or as a different use entirely such as an office.
  • What if an existing HMO is let to a family for a period?
    • If an existing HMO is let to a family, the property would no longer be classed as a HMO.  If the owner of the property wanted it to be used as a HMO again, planning permission would be required first.
  • What if a three bed HMO is reduced to two because a tenant leaves the property unexpectedly e.g. a student leaves a course early?

    • Where periodic reductions in HMO numbers and the number of tenants within particular properties raise questions of their planning status, a degree of flexibility may be required. 
    • Each case will need to be considered on its merits having regard to the intent of the landlord and the principle of discontinuance. 

Charnwood Local Plan Core Strategy 2011 - 2028

The Charnwood Core Strategy sets out our policy CS 4 to guide development involving HMOs (sections 5.26 to 5.32 explain the background to this). Other key policy considerations include:

More information about HMOs

Last updated: Mon 1st March, 2021 @ 10:24