Do you have an HMO?

Definition of an HMO
Since April 2006, a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is:

  • An entire house or flat which is let to 3 or more occupiers who form 2 or more households and who share basic amenities – e.g. a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
    Note:- rents must be payable or other consideration are to be provided;
    it is the occupiers only, or main residence; A resident landlord is allowed to rent to two extra sharers before it becomes an HMO;
    Or:-
  • A building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats if the conversion does not meet the appropriate building standards (generally the 1991 Building Regulations) and more than one-third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies (Section 257 HMO’s);

All HMO’s all subject to HMO Management Regulations, includes:-

  • Require an Manager, and;
  • Their contact HMO info is clearly available.

MO manager duties, Ensure:-

  • all parts are kept in good repair;
  • there are adequate facilities for the tenants;
  • fire equipment is regularly checked;
  • all means of escape are kept clear;
  • annual gas cert (normal), plus 5 yearly electric cert;
  • adequate waste disposal facilities the managers details must be on prominent display
  • manager is a fit and proper person

The Fit and Proper person cannot have:

  • Unspent convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs and fraud;
  • Breach of any housing or landlord and tenant law
  • Found guilty of unlawful discrimination
  • Has been banned under HA 2016;
  • Has not lost their Right to Remain in England;
  • Has not been declared insolvent or bankrupt.

Be careful if you are letting to a family who subsequently take in a lodger.  Whether you are aware or not they will have created an HMO, and if there are 5 (or more) occupants, will have created a Mandatory Licensable HMO.

Sharers vs HMO’s

Some Council differentiate between an HMO on one rental agreement (AST) which they call an HMO, and where the tenants are on individual agreements, which they call Sharers.

Note that the definition of an HMO is in legislation (Housing Act 2004) and does not take into regard the type of agreement.

Article 4 Direction

Frequently confused with licensing, if Article 4 Direction has been brought in by a Local Authority it is required to get planning permission on a new HMO.  If a property was an HMO at the time Article 4 was introduced it will retain the rights to trade as an HMO, although some Authorities will not allow the property to retain that right if they choose to let as a non-HMO (i.e. a standard family let).

Note that a larger HMO of 6 occupants or more has always required to have planning permission.

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