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As a landlord, you have extra responsibilities if the house you are renting out is a house in multiple occupation (HMO). Failure to meet these obligations may result in a fine. Read on to ensure you are aware of your obligations as a landlord with a HMO property.
What is a HMO?
A HMO is a property rented out by three or more people forming more than one household. A household is either a single person or members of the same family living together. It can include people who are married, in same-sex relationships, relatives or half-relatives and step-parents or step-children. For example, four unrelated people would make up four households and a property with two couples would make up two households. The second requirement for a HMO is some or all tenants share basic amenities such as a toilet, a bathroom or a kitchen with other tenants.
How do I create a HMO?
If you want to rent out your property as a HMO you must contact your local council to see whether you need a license or not as the requirements vary between councils. The license ensures the property is managed properly and meets the required safety standards. It is crucial you have a license if you’re renting out a large HMO. A large HMO is where five or more tenants who are not from the same household live together, at least one or more tenants share some of the facilities (toilet, bathroom or kitchen) and at least one of them pays rent (or their employer pays the rent).
What additional responsibilities are imposed on a HMO landlord?
Alongside the standard legal responsibilities you have as a landlord, there are additional responsibilities when it comes to a HMO:
The kitchen must also be equipped with the following equipment:
The HMO Licence also imposes a minimum floor area requirement, you must ensure that the floor area of any room used as sleeping accommodation in the HMO is not less than:
You must notify your local council of any room in the HMO which has a floor area of less than 4.64 square meters and ensure that any room with a floor area of less than 4.64 square meters is not used as sleeping accommodation.
There are additional floor area requirements which apply to other rooms within the HMO as per the licence requirements, you can contact your local council for further information as individual councils set the terms of the licence.
If you are a landlord of a HMO which should be licensed but isn’t, you may be committing a criminal offence which may result in a fine, you being ordered to repay up to 12 months’ rent, or where tenant’s receive housing benefit you may be ordered to repay 12 months’ housing benefit to the council. In addition, if the HMO is not adequately licensed you may not be able to evict tenants under a section 21 notice in the case of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) as it will not be valid where a HMO isn’t licensed as it should be.
Legislate’s AST agreements understand the differences between HMOs, bedsits and sole occupancy agreements. Users on Legislate are invited to create and negotiate contracts on their own terms, whilst being confident that their agreements are sensible and up to date. Read our tutorial to learn how to create your tenancy agreements in minutes with Legislate.
The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.
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