The council is responsible for checking Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to ensure they are in a satisfactory condition and are safe. The check will also ensure they have a satisfactory means of escape from fire, have sufficient bathrooms and kitchens and have adequate space and proper management.
What is a HMO?
A house in multiple occupation is a house occupied by people who do not form a single household. Examples include:
- a house let as individual bedsitting rooms
- a group of rooms on each floor let to single occupants
- hostels, some hotels and guesthouses
- lodgings and shared houses
- houses converted into self-contained flats
The following are not classed as HMOs:
- resident landlords with two separate tenants
- houses converted entirely into self-contained flats on or after 1 June 1992 or complies with the Building Regulations 1991 approval, where at least one third are owner occupied
- houses subject to control orders
- registered Providers (such as housing associations)
- houses registered under the Children Act 1989 or Registered Homes Act 1984
- educational establishments
- health service accommodation
- local council owned property
What are the standards?
A HMO will have to meet the council’s standards. These standards include:
- adequate means of escape in case of fire and other fire precautions
- adequate facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms, toilets and wash hand basins
- requirements on the number of occupants, in respect of the number and size of rooms
- general housing conditions
- management standards
- gas safety
- furniture fire safety
Fair rents inspections
The council has no input to determining what is a fair rent for your property, other than what is a reasonable sum for housing benefit.
If you are a landlord or a tenant the following may be useful:
Licensing is mandatory for all HMO’s which have three or more storey’s and are occupied by five or more people forming two or more households.
From 23 September 2016 the license fee for certain Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) over three storeys in height will be £250.
Where landlords have a HMO meeting this criteria, they must inform the Housing Standards team at the council.
Where landlords have not applied for a licence they will be at risk of:
- prosecution with a substantial fine
- losing rent through rent repayment orders
- problems getting possession of properties due to non availability of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.