Houses In Multiple Occupation

Definition of HMO's:

Houses in multiple occupation, otherwise known as HMO's, are defined in the Housing Act 2004 as houses that are occupied by three of more unrelated persons, who do not form a single household.

Requirements for HMO's:

The Housing Act 2004 provides the following requirements for a house to be an HMO:

  • The building or part of a building must comprise of more than one household that shares an amenity (e.g. bathroom, toilet or kitchen), or which is a converted building that does not entirely comprise of self-contained flats (i.e. at least one of the flats lacks an amenity or has an amenity outside of the flat), or which is a building comprised entirely of converted self-contained flats that do not meet the minimum standards of conversion in terms of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one third of the flats are occupied under short tenancies.
  • The building or part of a building must be occupied by more than household as their main or their only place of residence.
  • There must be more than one household occupying the building or part of the building. A household can be either a single person or members of the same family who are living together. This includes people who are married or living together as married.
  • There must be some consideration, money or otherwise, given for the occupation.

Exemptions from HMO's:

Schedule 14 of the housing Act 2004 contains a list of buildings that are exempt from the definition of HMO. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Buildings occupied by the Landlord together with a maximum of 2 other persons who do not form part of his household; and
  • Buildings occupied by no more than 2 persons.

HMO Licensing:

Only certain HMO's require licensing. There are the following 2 categories of HMO licensing:

  • Mandatory Licensing: Applicable for all HMO's that have 3 or more storeys and are occupied by 5 or more persons forming 2 or more households; and
  • Additional Licensing: Applicable in cases where the local council for an area imposes a licence on other categories of HMO's in its area that are not subject to mandatory licensing.

Licences can be obtained from the local council and normally last up to 5 years. The Housing Act requires that certain relevant persons are notified when making an application for an HMO licence. They include the following persons, where applicable:

  • The Landlord;
  • The owner of the building;
  • Any person who has a long lease over the building;
  • The Mortgagee;
  • The proposed licence holder;
  • The proposed managing agent; and
  • Any person who agreed to be bound by any conditions in the HMO licence.

HMO Licence Terms and Conditions:

There are the following conditions that the Licence Holder will be subject to:

  • Produce an annual gas safety certificate;
  • Keep any electrical appliances and furniture supplied by the Landlord in a safe condition and to supply proof of such to the local council on demand;
  • Install smoke alarms and keep them in proper working order and to supply proof of such to the local council on demand;
  • To provide the occupiers with a statement of the terms on which they occupy the HMO; and
  • Any other conditions which the local council may impose.

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