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Homes in Multiple Occupation

Responsibilities of HMO Landlords.

Definition of Multiple Occupation

Under the changes in the Housing Act 2004 if you let a property which is one of the following types it is a House in Multiple Occupation:

  • An entire house or flat which is let to 3 or more tenants who form 2 or more households* and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. (*For a definition of household see the question below.)
  • A house which has been converted entirely into bed sits or other non self-contained accommodation which is let to 3 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 (i.e. the flat does not contain within it a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by 3 or more tenants who form two or more households.
  • A 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.
  • In 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.

Definition of a Household

A household is where members of the same family are living together. Therefore, three friends sharing together are considered three households. If a couple are sharing with a third person that would consist of two households. If a family rents a property that is a single household, if that family had an au-pair to look after their children that person would be included in their household.

Responsibilities of an HMO Landlord

Standards for HMOs are detailed in the Housing Act 2004, for minimum standards see the related document HMO Amenity Standards below.

The Housing Act 2004 has also introduced licensing for certain categories of HMOs. It is an offence to manage an HMO or other property which is subject to licensing and for which no application for a licence has been made. Any landlord or manager of a property is liable, on summery conviction for this offence, to a maximum fine of up to £20,000. Apply for a HMO Licence 

Minimum Standards for HMOs

Similar to other rented property landlords of HMOs must ensure minimum health and safety and amenity standards are maintained. Health and safety risks are higher in HMO's than in any other properties. See the related document HMO Amenity Standards below.

Inspection of HMOs

All HMOs are subject to inspection by Environmental Health Services, HMOs are inspected at regular intervals to ensure that all the standards are being complied with. The frequency of inspection is determined by the level of risk found to exist at the property.

Officers from Environmental Health Services are happy to advise existing or prospective HMO landlords.

Officers have strong legal powers to enforce these standards.

If you need further information or to make an appointment for an Officer from Environmental Health to visit your property please see our contact details below.

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