What is a HMO?
2nd October 2017
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For students and people living in an expensive part of town, particularly London, choosing a HMO is the only realistic housing option.

By law, your property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if at least three tenants live there, forming more than one household, and they share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities. Your property is classified as a large HMO if it is at least three storeys high and contains at least five tenants who share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.

The key point is that the tenants in a HMO property form more than one household – i.e. they are not related or in a relationship.

HMOs have the potential to produce healthy returns for landlords, but beware - they are also governed by stricter regulations. These extra rules are there to reduce the risk of fire and to make sure that people living in shared houses or flats have adequate facilities.

As an example, all large HMOs need a licence from the local council which is responsible for enforcing HMO standards and can make landlords take action to correct any problems.

HMO landlords must also ensure that:

  • necessary fire safety measures are in place, including smoke alarms on every floor
  • gas safety checks are carried out annually
  • electrical checks every five years
  • the property is not overcrowded
  • there are enough cooking and bathroom facilities for the number of tenants
  • communal areas and shared facilities are clean and in good repair
  • there are enough rubbish bins/bags

Tenants have the right to contact the local council to report any hazards in a HMO property. They can also apply to a tribunal to reclaim some of their rent if a landlord has been prosecuted by the council for running an unlicensed HMO.

If you are thinking of investing in a buy-to-let property, including HMOs, call Knight Property Management today on 01992 308181.

About the Author

Jan and David

Member since: 22nd April 2012

Award-winning letting agents and chartered surveyors regulated by RICS and ARLA.

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