HMO (house in multiple occupation)

Overview of House In Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

A house in multiple occupations (HMO) is a property rented out by at least three people who are not from 1 ‘household’ i.e. a family but share amenities like the bathroom & kitchen. It can be called a ‘house share’ whereas a single household is where members of the same family are living together, including unmarried couples.

Individuals living in the following types of accommodation are likely to be living in HMOs:

• A house or flat which is let to 3 or more people who form 2 or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet • A house converted into bedsits or other forms of non-self-contained accommodation, which is let to 3 or more people who form 2 or more households.

For a property to be an HMO, it has to be used mainly as residential accommodation. It should be the occupiers' only or main home, but this includes any students undertaking a full-time course of further or higher education.

What does it mean to live in an House In Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

If you are living in an HMO, your landlord has to meet extra liabilities which are in addition to their repair responsibilities. These are:

• Fire & general safety – mainly the provision of properly working smoke and/or heat detectors with alarms and a safe means of escape in case of fire • Water supply & drainage – these cannot be irrationally interrupted and must be kept clean and in good repair • Gas & electricity – appliances and installations should be safe, which includes arranging an annual gas safety check & having electrical installations checked at least every five years • Communal areas – such as staircases, halls, corridors, and entrances, should be kept in good decorative repair, clean and sensibly free from obstructions • Disposal of waste – there must be enough bins for rubbish and adequate means of disposing of litter • Living accommodation – the living space and any furniture supplied must be clean and in good repair.

Room sizes - Your bedroom should be a minimum size:

• 6.51 square meters for one person over 10 years of age • 10.22 square meters for two people over 10 years of age • 4.64 square meters for one child under the age of 10 years
Any part of your bedroom where the height of the ceiling is less than 1.5 meters can’t be counted towards the minimum room size.

Licensing of HMOs

Some HMOs require a licence. Licenses are provided by the local authority which also has a duty to keep a register of all HMO licenses in its area. The local authority can help you if you want to know if an HMO is licensed or not.

Which HMOs need a licence?

An HMO with five or more people living in two or more separate households must be licensed. Before granting a license the local authority must be satisfied that: • The property is appropriate for a certain maximum number of people to live there, and • The individual holding the licence and the person managing the HMO are fit & suitable persons, and • The property is managed properly