The very complicated world of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) often reveals that the most law-abiding landlords are totally unaware that their property falls under the HMO umbrella.
These landlords are risking huge fines and possible rent re-payments if they are running an HMO, even if they don’t realise.
North Somerset Council have kindly provided us with the following breakdown of what the term ‘HMO’ encompasses:
Definition of a House in Multiple Occupation
It will be an HMO if it is one of the following:
- A shared house lived in by people who belong to more than one family* and who share one or more facilities**
- A converted building where not all of the units are self-contained
- An individual flat lived in by people who belong to more than one family* and who share one or more facilities**
- A building of self-contained flats that do not meet 1991 Building Regulation standards
- If it is occupied by only two people
- If it is occupied by the owner (and their family if any) and one or two lodgers
- If it is occupied by a religious community
- If the occupiers have their main residence elsewhere***
- If none of the occupiers are required to pay rent or give other consideration in respect of the living accommodation
- If the owner or manager is a public body
- If the owner or manager is an educational institution
- A building of self-contained flats if two thirds or more of the flats are owner-occupied
- If the property is part of a guest house or hotel (unless an ‘HMO Declaration’ is made)
*Family – husband, wife, co-habitee, child, step-child, foster-child, grandchild, parent, step-parent, foster-parent, grandparent, brother, half-brother, sister, half-sister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin.
**Facilities – basic amenities: wc; wash hand basin, shower, bath; cooking facilities.
***Accommodation used by full-time students while they are studying is taken to be their main residence.
Note: this is a summary only, if in any doubt contact your local council.
Four HMO definition flow charts which provide more detailed information are available here: http://www.privatehousinginformation.co.uk/site/86.asp
What types of properties need to licence?
Mandatory Licensing of HMOs
- is rented to five or more unrelated people
- 2 or more households
- is at least three storeys high
- tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities
Additional Licensing of HMOs
Vary locally, council decides if to introduce a scheme, evidence base and legislative process to follow.
In North Somerset – we have 1 scheme in part of central WSM – applies to ALL HMOs in that area. Follow this link for more information: http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/housing/private-landlords/hmo-licences/houses-in-multiple-occupation-licence/
Selective Licensing Schemes
Applies to all rented properties in a defined area, schemes vary across the country, council decides if to introduce a scheme, evidence base and legislative process to follow.
HMO and other residential property reforms – consultation paper
Closing date for responses 13/12/16 – implementation expected October 2017
- remove ‘storey’ rule from mandatory licensing requirements
- include flats which are occupied by five persons or more, in households of two or more, if the flat: is in a converted building; or in certain circumstances is in a building where part of the building is used for commercial or other non-residential purposes.
- Minimum room sizes in licensed HMOs – 6.52 sq. m for one person, 10.23 sq. m for two persons
Consultation paper – Proposed banning order offences under the Housing and Planning Act 2016