Do you know whether your property is an HMO?

Do you know whether your property is an HMO?

The very complicated world of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) often reveals that the most law-abiding landlords are totally unaware that their property falls under the HMO umbrella.

These landlords are risking huge fines and possible rent re-payments if they are running an HMO, even if they don’t realise.

North Somerset Council have kindly provided us with the following breakdown of what the term ‘HMO’ encompasses:

Definition of a House in Multiple Occupation

Housing Act 2004 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/part/7/crossheading/meaning-of-house-in-multiple-occupation

It will be an HMO if it is one of the following:

  • A shared house lived in by people who belong to more than one family* and who share one or more facilities**
  • A converted building where not all of the units are self-contained
  • An individual flat lived in by people who belong to more than one family* and who share one or more facilities**
  • A building of self-contained flats that do not meet 1991 Building Regulation standards

Exemptions:

  • If it is occupied by only two people
  • If it is occupied by the owner (and their family if any) and one or two lodgers
  • If it is occupied by a religious community
  • If the occupiers have their main residence elsewhere***
  • If none of the occupiers are required to pay rent or give other consideration in respect of the living accommodation
  • If the owner or manager is a public body
  • If the owner or manager is an educational institution
  • A building of self-contained flats if two thirds or more of the flats are owner-occupied
  • If the property is part of a guest house or hotel (unless an ‘HMO Declaration’ is made)

*Family – husband, wife, co-habitee, child, step-child, foster-child, grandchild, parent, step-parent, foster-parent, grandparent, brother, half-brother, sister, half-sister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin.

**Facilities – basic amenities: wc; wash hand basin, shower, bath; cooking facilities.

***Accommodation used by full-time students while they are studying is taken to be their main residence.

Note: this is a summary only, if in any doubt contact your local council.

Four HMO definition flow charts which provide more detailed information are available here: http://www.privatehousinginformation.co.uk/site/86.asp

What types of properties need to licence?

Mandatory Licensing of HMOs

  • is rented to five or more unrelated people
  • 2 or more households
  • is at least three storeys high
  • tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

Additional Licensing of HMOs

Vary locally, council decides if to introduce a scheme, evidence base and legislative process to follow.

In North Somerset – we have 1 scheme in part of central WSM – applies to ALL HMOs in that area.  Follow this link for more information: http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/housing/private-landlords/hmo-licences/houses-in-multiple-occupation-licence/

Selective Licensing Schemes

Applies to all rented properties in a defined area, schemes vary across the country, council decides if to introduce a scheme, evidence base and legislative process to follow.

HMO and other residential property reforms – consultation paper

Closing date for responses 13/12/16 – implementation expected October 2017

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/houses-in-multiple-occupation-and-residential-property-licensing-reforms

Proposals to:

  • remove ‘storey’ rule from mandatory licensing requirements
  • include flats which are occupied by five persons or more, in households of two or more, if the flat: is in a converted building; or in certain circumstances is in a building where part of the building is used for commercial or other non-residential purposes.
  • Minimum room sizes in licensed HMOs – 6.52 sq. m for one person, 10.23 sq. m for two persons

Consultation paper – Proposed banning order offences under the Housing and Planning Act 2016

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/576799/161212_consultation_on_banning_order_offences.pdf

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Author: News Feed

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