Houses in Multiple Occupation
House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a term that describes the type of housing where there is often (but not always) some sharing of facilities such as bathrooms or kitchens by a number of individuals living as separate households. This includes houses or flats shared by a group of friends or colleagues and bed sit type accommodation with shared bathrooms. Properties consisting solely of self contained flats could still be considered to be an HMO dependent on the date of construction/conversion and the quality of the works carried out.
What is an HMO?
Under the Housing Act 2004, if a landlord lets 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 three or more tenants who form two or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet
- a house which has been converted entirely into bed sits or other non-self-contained accommodation and which is let to three 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 (die the flat does not contain within it a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by three 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. 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.
Which HMO's need a licence?
Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO's) became mandatory in April 2006. This means that larger higher risk HMO's (exemptions apply for Registered Social landlords) will require a licence if they meet all of the following criteria;
- Three or more storey's
- Five or more occupants
- Two or more separate households
What is a Licence?
A licence will specify the maximum number of people who may live in the HMO. It may also include conditions relating to:
- the provision of a valid gas safety certificate (where necessary)
- proof that all electrical appliances and furniture are kept in a safe condition
- test certificates for all fire warning and emergency lighting systems
- the maintenance of the property and facilities
- the requirement for the HMO to meet the prescribed standards within a specified time
A licence will usually last for a maximum of five years, although it can be for a shorter period.
If you require any further information regarding Houses in Multiple Occupation please contact Environmental Health Services. A public register of licensed HMO's can be viewed at Council Offices, St Peter's Hill, Grantham during normal working hours.
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