Glasgow HMO Properties: What Do Students Need to Know?

Are you a student thinking of renting a Glasgow HMO property during term-time? Make sure you know the answers to these frequently asked questions.

1. What is an HMO? 

An HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) is a residential property where three or more unrelated people rent and share facilities (such as a toilet, bathroom, and kitchen). It’s also known as a “house share”.

HMO properties are subject to strict licensing conditions. 

However, there are a few exceptions where an HMO licence isn’t required. For example, if you live with your landlord, they don’t count as one of the unrelated people. 

Similarly, by law, a landlord does not require a licence if tenants are a couple. This is defined as “married or civil partners, or living together as husband and wife or, where they are of the same sex, in an equivalent relationship”.

2. What are the licensing conditions?

All HMO properties need to be licensed with the local council before they can be rented out. The council will typically inspect properties before issuing a licence.

The licence means your landlord is responsible for the following:

  • Quarterly inspections and fire training
  • Smoke alarm installation on every level
  • Clearing fire escapes of obstruction
  • Keeping communal areas clean and tidy
  • Ensuring waste disposal facilities are in place 

In addition to this, the rooms in the property must be of adequate size, and any gas and electrical appliances must be certified safe.

A certified HMO property must have an HMO licence prominently displayed. If you can’t see one, ask the landlord to share a copy. 

3. What are the risks of unlicensed Glasgow HMO properties? 

Unlicensed house share properties can sometimes be cheaper and therefore more attractive to students on a budget. However, the risks far outweigh the benefits. Not only are they illegal, but if your landlord is unwilling to licence the property correctly, where else might they be cutting corners? And will they respect your rights as a tenant?  

4. How do I know if the property is licensed and certified safe? 

If you’re unsure that the property you’re looking at is licensed (and your landlord is evasive and won’t show you a copy of an up-to-date licence), don’t sign anything until you’ve checked for yourself.

To do this, contact the Glasgow City Council Private Landlord Unit via email ( or by phone (0300 343 0414). They’ll be able to tell you if an application for a licence has been lodged or refused.  

Rent a Glasgow HMO with Cairn

We’ve been managing fully licensed Glasgow HMO properties for years. When you rent with Cairn, you’re in good hands. We conduct thorough tenant move-in training, taking you through health & safety regulations, smoke alarm testing, and how to use appliances. And we also carry out quarterly inspections to ensure the property remains safe, clean and comfortable, as per the HMO conditions. 

Are you interested in renting an HMO property in Glasgow? Get in touch to learn more.