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About households and family members

What is a household?

One household is made up of family members, a couple, two unrelated people sharing the same home or a single person.

Unrelated adults who are not a couple or part of a family are separate households.

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property lived in by people from different households. For example:  

  • a family and a friend renting together
  • more than two students sharing a house
  • more than two professional friends sharing a flat
  • multiple casual workers each renting a separate room in a house

These households all share amenities like kitchens and bathrooms.

Who is a family member?

A person is a member of another person’s family if:

  • he or she lives with that person as a couple
  • one of them is related to the other
  • or is related to one member of the couple.

and where

  • couple means two people who are married or in a civil partnership, or live together as partners
  • relative means a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or first cousin
  • siblings are treated the same whether they are half or whole brothers / sisters
  • stepchildren are treated the same as birth children.