fbpx

Please click here for our latest COVID-19 information.

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.pinneytalfourd.co.uk/

5 minutes reading time (912 words)

Houses in Multiple Occupation FAQs

Houses in Multiple Occupation FAQs

What is a HMO? Why do I need a licence? Read our frequently asked questions about houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

 

What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?

A home is an HMO if the following conditions are satisfied:
  • At least three tenants live there, forming more than one household; and
  • Toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared with other tenants.
This is a very wide definition. When HMO regulations were originally introduced there were many other conditions that needed to be satisfied, so that only properties over three or more storeys were caught.

Under the amended definition, which came into force 1 October 2018, every property that is rented and satisfies the two conditions referred to above will require the landlord to have a HMO licence.
 

What is the purpose of a HMO?

Since the rented sector, and in particular the private rented sector, has expanded significantly over the last 20 years, governments have come to the view that tenants need additional rights and this is particularly the case where a property is let as an HMO.

The legislation also reflects the fact that HMOs are considerably more profitable to landlords than traditional single household lets and that standards can therefore be higher. There are detailed provisions with regard to fire, electrical and gas safety.

In addition, the fact that each HMO must be licensed means that local authorities can closely monitor the number of HMOs in their area which helps them assess local housing and transport needs.

 

What sort of properties are likely to be covered by the HMO Regulations?

Student houses where accommodation is shared between three or more individuals are very likely to be HMOs and therefore require a HMO licence.
0
 Advanced issues found
 
0
 Advanced issues found
 
 
 

What are the consequences if a landlord does not have a HMO Licence?

Where a property is a HMO and the landlord fails to apply for and obtain a licence from the Local Authority, this can result in a fine of up to £20,000 together with compulsory repayment of all rent received from the tenant's occupying that HMO
0
 Advanced issues found
 
0
 Advanced issues found
 
 
 

If a landlord has a licenced HMO, can the landlord be fined for any breaches of the regulations?

Yes, they can be fined if they fail to keep a property in a safe and habitable condition. If a property is not deemed to be safe e.g. not having relevant gas safety certificates, licences can be revoked and fines issued.

A landlord in Lincoln was fined £40,000 in a property where 7 tenants lived, which was deemed to be unsafe. In particular, there was no working fire alarm, the bedrooms did not have fire doors fitted, the stairs were not a safe means of emergency exit and the locking mechanisms on the internal bedroom doors also made escape potentially difficult.

0
 Advanced issues found
 
0
 Advanced issues found
 
 
 

What should a landlord do who believes he has a HMO which is unlicensed and/or which does not satisfy HMO conditions?

Any landlord in this position must take immediate action to obtain a licence from his Local Authority. This will necessitate the property physically complying with all safety requirements. Most of the safety requirements relate to fire, gas safety and minimum room size.

Each local authority has a housing service and it is frequently when tenants make a complaint to the housing service that enforcement against landlords is triggered. Landlords who comply with the regulations have nothing to fear from the legislation but landlords accidently caught out by the legislation do need to take action.

0
 Advanced issues found
 
0
 Advanced issues found
 
 
 

How long does a licence last and what does it cost?

Licence fees vary, and need renewing every 5 years. Landlords should carefully diarise renewal dates and ensure they are fully up to date with the regulations.It seems likely that over the next 5 years the regulations will be further tightened.

0
 Advanced issues found
 
0
 Advanced issues found
 
 
 

I am a landlord and enforcement action is being taken against me, what should I do?

You should contact Pinney Talfourd LLP. We have recent experience of acting for landlords in precisely this situation. Where it is a breach of the regulations, we are experienced in raising mitigating factors with Local Authorities with a view to agreeing a level of fine that is acceptable.

You can also read our Financial Penalties for HMOs Legal Hub article.

0
 Advanced issues found
 
0
 Advanced issues found
 
 
 

Find out more

Pinney Talfourd's property litigation solicitors will be happy to discuss your situation in more detail. They are recommended by Legal 500 UK and are able to meet clients out of hours and across Essex and London. Contact the team here.
Join us for Christmas at the Queen's
The perils of the Christmas party season for emplo...

Related Posts

© Pinney Talfourd Solicitors | Disclaimer | Offices: Upminster |  Brentwood |  Hornchurch |  Chelmsford |  Leigh-on-Sea |  Canary Wharf