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Helping you understand who lives in HMOs and why?


Helping you understand who lives in HMOs and why?

Researches focus on high HMO concentrations and particularly concentrates on universities/higher education institutions. However, people must bare in mind that HMOs are occupied by a wide variety of people. Many of the people tend to be a younger age group and form single households. HMOs often house ephemeral households present only for a limited period of time. A lot of them tend to be low income households usually because the majority are either unemployed, full time students or working for a low income. However, being dependent on the whereabouts, HMOs are most often occupied by young professionals and recent graduates at an earlier stage in their career. Most are often unable or unwilling to rent/buy self-contained accommodation.

The high percentage of problems associated with high concentrations of HMOs are thought to be from mainly the student occupation. However, there could be associations with people who claim benefits, ex-offenders and other people who may be thought of as vulnerable. In towns which are in a more coastal area there is often concentration on seasonal workers, overabundance of hotels and guesthouses which are no longer serving the tourist trade. In addition, new migrants are more likely to be in the private rented division rather than in other divisions. The majority of new migrants are also more likely to be living in housing at the lower side of the marketing industry.

Due to recent government changes in the way that the Local Housing Allowance is granted has meant that since January 2012, the shared housing rate (this currently applies to a single person under the age of 25 in an accommodation which is rented from a private landlord) which was increased to people under the age of 35. A great majority of single people under the age of 35 will be entitle to receive housing benefits but only for HMO type accommodation. This is clearly a factor which is likely to promote the growth of HMOs.

The tables which are set out below show the range of people commonly found in HMOs and secondly some of the main reasons why people live in HMOs.

Who lives in HMO’s.

  • Students (including further education, undergraduates, postgraduates, overseas and language schools)
  • Unemployed- single and couples
  • People which move to an area for work, seasonal or transient/contract workers
  • Residents in hostels/refugees
  • People with special social needs- with live in carers or social workers
  • Migrant workers
  • Older house sharers who cannot afford to buy or rent their own property
  • Lodgers
  • People on bail/domestic violence/refugees
  • Newly homeless people/people who are being re-habilitated back into the community
  • Local Housing Allowance (housing benefits) claimants under the age of 35
  • Live in staff for example hotel workers
  • Trainee and recently qualified medical staff
  • Young professionals and recent graduates
  • Young non-professionals


Why tenants Rent HMOS.


  • Affordability (low costing accommodations)
  • Personal development/ right of passage
  • Short term contracts/flexibility/work commitments
  • Location/convenience
  • Lack of university accommodation
  • Cultural/peer support
  • Not wanting to feel isolated/living alone
  • Good transport links/travel cost
  • Only option available (no longer welcome at home)
  • Provided by employers to allow immediate start on a job
  • Housed in HMO as a step back into the community or to receive support
  • Work commitments 


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