Flats and Section 257 HMOs

Section 257 House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Section 257 of the Housing Act 2004 relates to a "converted block of flats" which is a building (or part of a building) which has been converted into, and consists of, flats and self-contained flats. Buildings of this description are HMOs if;

  • the conversion work was not done in accordance with 'appropriate building standards'
    Please see the information below in relation to this.


  • less than two-thirds of the self-contained flats are owner-occupied
    Please see the Guidance document for example of buildings with a variety of flats that are privately rented and owner occupied. Document 8

The Conversion work was not done in accordance with 'appropriate building standards'

Appropriate building standards' usually means the 1991 Building Regulations [or whichever later Building Regulations applied at the time the work was done if after 1991.]

Therefore, if the conversion work was done before 1991 then the property is likely to be a HMO which requires a licence under Nottingham City Council’s Additional Licensing Scheme. More information on the Licensing schemes can be found here.

If you are not sure if the building meets the above or do not have a certificate to prove this then the council would expect an application to be made to licence the property. If it’s later found that the property already meets these standards then a full refund can be issued.

Alternatively, some additional work may be required to bring the building up to the appropriate building standards and a certificate would be issued for this and the property would no longer be considered as a HMO or require a licence. However, up until this point you should follow the licensing process as normal and where a licence has not been issued a part refund could be issued.

The legislation which covers houses converted solely into self contained flats ('Section 257 HMOs') and can be found at Section 257 HMOs

Other flats within a converted building

Some buildings may have other shared flats within them as well as, or instead of only self-contained flats.

A flat which has 3 or more occupants from more than one households* is also considered as a HMO. These are licensable under the Additional Licensing scheme.

This can mean that converted buildings may require more than one licence, where there is a HMO within it and the building as a whole also requires a licence under Section 257 of the Housing Act 2004 – as mentioned above.

See our guidance document on this here. (Document to be uploaded soon.)


There is a specific set of regulations that relate to Section 257 HMO’s and these can be found here.


 a household can be one person or several people. a group of people that are related or living as a couple are 1 household. Two friends would be 2 household because they are not related.

Examples:            Three friends = 3 households

                                A couple and a 1 friend = 2 households

                                A couple living with their parent are 1 household.

A couple, sharing with 3 strangers who are all friends but not related would be 4 households.

Who needs to apply for a licence where there are Leaseholders and a Freeholder?

There can often be some confusion over who is responsible for applying for a licence where there are several Leaseholders and then often a Freeholder all connected to one building.

Each case is considered on a case by case basis and it is important to remember this, however, below is some general information.

Contact Us

Environmental Health Loxley House Station Street Nottingham NG2 3NG Email: environmental.health@nottinghamcity.gov.uk
Tel: 0115 915 2000

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