for landlords letting or thinking of letting a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
6 April 2006, HMO licensing was introduced under the provisions of the Housing
below is information issued by Government, local Government and Landlords Organisations
on this very complex issue.
local authorities must licence properties that are at least three or more stories
high with five or more persons who form two or more households. This is known
as mandatory licensing. Provision has also been made for discretionary licensing
where local authorities can extend the licensing system to include other HMOs.
This is known as additional licensing
on the image to the LEFT
to find an excellent guide produced by spareroom.co.uk
is an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation)?
house in multiple occupation (HMO) is any building or part of a building such
as a house, flat, maisonette, bungalow etc that is occupied by people who do not
live as a single household (such as people in a family relationship) and where
they share (or lack) one or more basic amenities, such as a toilet, or personal
washing and cooking facilities. Bed-sit accommodation and houses or flats occupied
by sharers where there is no family relationship are examples of HMOs.
HMO can also be a house or building that has been converted into self-contained
flats, if the conversion was below the standards set by the Building Regulations
1991 and at least one third of the flats are tenanted. A purpose-built block of
flats is not an HMO (however, an individual flat within it might be if it is let
to three or more tenants).Another example is a converted building where there
is a mix of self-contained and non self-contained accommodation.HMOs that consist
solely of self contained units are exempt from mandatory licensing. The council
do not propose to include these properties as part of the new application for
the changes in the Housing Act 2004, if a landlord lets a property which is one
of the following types it is a House in Multiple Occupation:
entire house or flat which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more
households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet (for a definition of household
please see the frequently asked questions)
a house which has been converted entirely into bedsits or other non-self-contained
accommodation and which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more households
and who share kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities
a converted house which contains one or more flats which are not wholly self contained
(ie the flat does not contain within it a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which
is occupied by three or more tenants who form two or more households
building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats if the conversion
did not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one-third
of the flats are let on short-term tenancies
order to be an HMO the property must be used as the tenants' only or main residence
and it should be used solely or mainly to house tenants. Properties let to students
and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence and the same
will apply to properties which are used as domestic refuges
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in shared accommodation
you live in a property in which three or more people live, at least one of whom
is unrelated to the others and where you share facilities your council will call
this type of accommodation a 'House in Multiple Occupation' or HMO.
rules apply to the management of HMOs and some may need a property licence.
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I live in an HMO?
you live in a property with two or more people who are not related to you or a
partner and at least one of you pays rent, share kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities
you probably live in an HMO.
following types of accommodation are often described as an HMO:
shared houses or flats
house converted into bed sits
hostels some guesthouses
some bed and breakfast establishments and hotels
some types of houses converted into flats
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types of shared accommodation are not considered HMOs. Examples include:
house or flat occupied by only two persons
a house or flat with a resident landlord plus two other occupiers
converted entirely into self contained flats with appropriate Building Regulations
approval, where at least two thirds are owner occupied
house or flat managed by the council or a registered social landlord
a house or flat registered under the Care Standards Act 2000
managed by certain higher educational establishments
police or fire authority accommodation
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are the standards?
landlord is responsible for making sure your home is kept in repair and is suitable
for multiple tenants. If your home has to be licensed the local housing authority
can impose conditions to ensure that the property is occupied by no more than
the permitted number of persons.
council will also check the facilities and ensure that the property is properly
managed. Whether or not the HMO in which you live is licensed by the council,
your landlord must comply with management regulations. Your home should be also
be free of any hazards likely to seriously impact upon your health and safety.
you think there is a hazard in your home you should contact the council. In all
rented properties utilities, like gas, must comply with safety regulations and
all furniture should pass fire safety standards.
landlord has a duty to ensure that a gas safety check is performed annually and
a certificate issued. You are entitled to see the certificate.
requirements and exemptions
of 6 April 2006 it is compulsory to license shared accommodation of three or more
storeys which is occupied by five or more people who live in two or more separate
households. A household may be made up of two people who are married, to each
other, or are civil partners.
The household may also be made up of people related to each other, or may include
nannies or other domestic staff living with the family. Local authorities also
have powers to operate additional HMO licensing schemes to apply to properties
with less than three storeys and occupied by less than 5 people in their areas.
you are not sure about any of the licensing issues surrounding your accommodation,
you should contact your council. Your landlord is not allowed to evict tenants
in order to bring the number of occupants in the property below the threshold
for licensing it.
If your landlord threatens you with eviction you should contact your council immediately.
Your council will have details of out-of-hours information lines and emergency
contact numbers. Contact your housing advice centre for full information on the
support services that are available to you.
If you think you are living in a property which should be licensed but isn't,
you can report your landlord to the council.
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of a "House of Multiple Occupation" (HMO) -
I have to get a licence for my property?
find out whether your property will have to be licensed requires a two step process:
One: Compare your property to the criteria in the
new definition of an HMO in the Housing Act to establish whether your property
is an HMO.
Two: Not all HMOs will have to be licensed. Once
you have established that your property is an HMO under the new legislation you
then need to think whether your property has 3 or more floors AND 5 or more tenants.
If so you will have to apply for a licence. If not, it will not have to be licensed
under the national plans but local authorities will have the right to introduce
local HMO licensing for certain types of properties if they feel there is a need.
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Housing Act 2004 defines an HMO as one of the following (part 7 section 254):
building with one or more units of accommodation which are not self-contained
flats, occupied by people who are not in one household who pay rent, occupy the
property as their main or only residence, are the only people to use that accommodation
and share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. If the building contains a mixture of
self-contained flats and non-self-contained accommodation the building will still
be considered an HMO owing to the presence of non-self-contained accommodation
where people are sharing facilities.
converted building with at least one unit of accommodation which is not self-contained,
occupied by people from more than one household who pay rent and occupy it as
their main or only residence. As with the first definition, such a building may
have self-contained flats in it as well but the presence of non-self-contained
accommodation will mean that the building is an HMO.
the first definition, the occupants of the non-self-contained accommodation do
not have to be sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities for the building to be
self-contained flat may also be an HMO if it is occupied by people who are more
than two households who pay rent, occupy the flat as their main or only residence,
are the only people to use that accommodation and share a kitchen, bathroom or
A building converted into self-contained flats, less than two-thirds of which
are owner-occupied, will be an HMO if the building work did not comply with building
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is a household under HMO Terms?
may be considered as part of the same household if they are members of the same
family (married or living together, or related to one another, including half-relatives
and step-children). Foster children and adopted children will be treated as part
of the household and so will any domestic employees including carers.
Government are exempting properties with only two joint tenants from the definition
of an HMO. As a result to be an HMO a property will have to have 3 or more joint
unrelated tenants. For example, a house with five individuals sharing kitchen
and bathroom facilities on a joint tenancy will be considered to have five households
occupying it. It is worth noting, however, that if two of the five tenants are
married to each other or are blood relatives, then the property will only be considered
to have four households: the three individuals plus one couple or set of relatives.
are to be regarded as not forming a single household unless they are all members
of the same family.
or not a group of people classify as a 'household' is also a controversial point
under the legislation. A family will classify as a household, whereas a group
of individuals sharing a house will normally be considered as multiple occupation.
People may also be considered as part of the same household if they are married,
living together or even just related to each other (including half relatives and
step-children). The Act allows and leads us to expect that regulations will be
introduced that prescribe other types of relationship - such as domestic staff
or fostering or carer arrangements) that may be either included or excluded within
this definition of household.
house shared by five individuals holding a joint tenancy, and sharing kitchen
and bathroom facilities will qualify under the new definition as a house occupied
by five households. But if two of those individuals are related or in a relationship
and 'living together', then there will only be four households.
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for above: National Landlords Association - NLA
legislation changes the definition of a House in Multiple Occupation - England
the 6th April 2006 more properties will fall under this definition. It is aimed
at improving standards of student houses and bedsits. Houses with three or more
storeys let to five or more unrelated people will need to be licensed by the Local
Authority. This is to ensure that the Landlord is a "fit and proper person".
Landlords who fail to get a license by the beginning of July 2006 risk a fine
of £20,000 for contravening the latest regulations in the 2004 Housing Act
governing Houses in Multiple Occupation.
is a basic check list:
is a House in Multiple Occupation? - It is a building which
is occupied by two or more households which share some facilities such as kitchens,
bathrooms or WC's.
is a household? - The new legislation states specifically
- It includes members of the same family (parent, child, grandparent, brother,
sister, aunt, nephew, niece or cousin), persons who are married to each other
or live as husband and wife (or an equivalent same sex relationship).
if a group of students occupy a house? - This will be classed as a House in Multiple
Occupation as they would not members of the same household. The legislation has
made a specific change to clarify this area. If a property is let through a college/university
Head Tenancy Scheme the property is still an HMO
if the persons are unrelated.**
there any exemptions from the definition of HMO? - Yes
- these are for buildings managed by public sector bodies such as Registered Social
Landlords, the Police, the Fire Authority and the National Health Service.
**Student Halls of
Residence managed by an Educational Establishment are also exempt from the definition.
are the legal requirements regarding HMOs? - Some
higher risk HMOs which consist of three or more storeys with five or more occupants
must be licensed by a Local Authority. All HMOs will need to meet basic standards
which at April 2006 have to be finalised by the Government. It is likely that
these will relate to the numbers of facilities required such as kitchens, baths,
showers and WC's and fire prevention works. The standard of management in the
property will also be specified to ensure the property is managed properly and
maintained in a good state of repair.
To grant a license, the licensing authority must be satisfied
proposed license holder, the landlord or managing agent, are 'fit and proper'
and tenancies are managed appropriately
accommodation meets all minimum standards such as sufficient number of toilets,
kitchens and bathrooms for the number of residents
will be issued with certain conditions attached, such as the requirement to provide
gas and electrical safety certificates.
Property that has been an HMO for over 30 years
Wales There are some 20,000 HMOs. Local Authorities
have significant enforcement powers to deal with problems in the private rented
sector and can also give grants to improve the condition of properties and for
the conversion of HMOs into self-contained accommodation.
Scotland all residential let property with three
or more unrelated tenants has to be licensed as an HMO whereas in England and
Wales mandatory licensing in most areas will be restricted to HMOs with three
or more storeys and five or more tenants.
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To make matters more complicated a
new law - Anti-Social Behaviour Act (Scotland) 2004 states
that from the 30th April 2006, all Landlords of any private rented accommodation
will need to apply to be registered with the Local Authority in which they let.
This means that all Landlords letting out accommodation in Scotland will now have
to be licensed. The only exceptions will be when the Landlord lives in the same
property and holiday lets.
with HMOs will already be licensed under existing HMO licensing rules, but for
everybody else it will be an offence to continue letting residential property
in Scotland if they have not submitted a valid application to register on the
can be fined up to £5,000 for non registration and the stopping of rental
payments. The objective is to remove more disreputable Landlords from the market
by checking that those on the register are "fit and proper" people to
let out property. It also aims to ensure that Landlords cooperate with councils
to try to reduce tenants' antisocial behaviour.
Local Authority will run checks to see if the Landlord is a "fit and proper"
person. Checks for fraud, drugs, dishonesty, violence and unlawful discrimination
or failed to maintain a property properly.
minimum registration fee is £55 and a further fee of £13.75 for each
additional Local Authority area where the Landlord lets. There is also a £11
for each property. If a Landlord has two properties in different Local Authority
areas will pay £90.75 but there will be a 10 per cent discount for registering
registrations will have to be renewed every three years.
This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without
the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed
at. ©jml property Services 03-06
in Bexley fined for breach of HMO rules
Magistrates Court, Greater London has fined Ludomir Szulc £99,000. He pleaded
guilty to 22 offences brought by the London Borough of Bexley under the Management
of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. These are the rules
that set out the duties of landlords and managers of houses in multiple occupation
under the 2004 Housing Act. Environmental health officesrs found uncapped gas
pipes in bedrooms, dangerous electrics lacl of adequate fire precautions, badly
maintained and filthy bathrooms and kitchen and a lack of hot water to kitchen
original fine was £110,000 but reduced to £99,000 according tothe
report in the NLA's magazine "Uk Landlord" March
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of the Equality Act for Letting agents accepting Landlord instructions - November
2010 - More on this here
Act 2004 - Chapter
3 LICENSING OF HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION 4
of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) England & wales) Order 2005
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and HMOs - Information 17 April 2007
to present your rental property for letting
not to present your rental property for letting
Smoke Free - England July 2007
to Let Uk
to Let Europe
Performance Certificates for rental property
Deposit Protection Scheme
Arbitration - April 2008 - by David Smith - Pain
Smith Legal update
code of Practise on racial equality in housing
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