Houses in Multiple Occupation - help for tenants

An HMO is a property shared by three or more tenants who aren't in the same family, and share facilities. HMO landlords must have a licence from the council. This is in addition to their requirement to register as a landlord with the council (which applies to all private landlords). Licensing ensures HMOs meet minimum standards of accommodation and safety and avoid causing nuisance in the neighbourhood.

It is a criminal offence to operate an HMO without a licence. If you are a landlord and want to know about the licensing process, go to our Information for Private Landlords.

How will I know if my property is licensed?

Contact the East Lothian Council Environmental and Consumer Services, John Muir House, Haddington, EH41 3HA. Call 01620 827365/ 827213. Email:

What standards must an HMO meet?

What can I do if my home is not up to standard?

Our Environmental Health team will be able to give you more advice on the standards. If there is a problem they will take it up with the landlord. They will not tell your landlord who made the complaint.

Leaflet for tenants

Related topics

If you want to read about rights and responsibilities in privately rented housing generally, including repairing responsibilities, see Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities.

If you want information about living as someone's lodger or flat / house sharer, see Lodgers and Shared Tenancies. Information on liability for Council Tax in Houses in Multiple Occupation can also be found there.

If you are having difficulties with a neighbour, see Dealing with Anti-social Behaviour.