There is no single answer to this question. The term “House in Multiple Occupation” (HMO) is defined in the Housing Act 2004, and a wide range of premises will fall within the definition. Many of these premises will contain rooms that would also meet the definition of a room for residential purposes given in regulation 2 of the Building Regulations; however, there are others that will not. Each case should, therefore, be considered on its own merits.

When deciding whether a room or a suite or rooms is a room for residential purposes, the list of establishments in which rooms for residential purposes may be found, which is given in the definition in regulation 2, provides useful guidance. It states that a room or suite of rooms, used by one or more persons to live and sleep, in a hostel, hotel, boarding house, hall of residence or residential home is included in the definition of room for residential purposes. Consequently, rooms or suites of rooms used by one or more persons to live and sleep in HMOs used for those purposes, or in HMOs which have a substantially similar use, are likely to be rooms for residential purposes, although it is necessary to carefully consider each case individually.

Rooms or suites of rooms in HMOs which are not hotels, hostels, boarding houses, halls of residence, residential homes or similar are therefore unlikely to be rooms for residential purposes as defined in the Building Regulations. It is not possible to give definitive guidance, but it is unlikely for example that bedrooms in an HMO which consists of a single-family dwelling-house which is shared by a small group of students could be regarded as rooms for residential purposes.

Category: Part E - Resistance to the passage of sound