Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

First time landlord guide

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

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When a house is let to sharing occupants who are not a family unit, landlords must ensure that the property complies with rules around Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO). 

What is HMO?

A rented property is considered a House in Multiple Occupation if:

A property is occupied by five or more people, forming two or more households, who also share facilities such as the kitchen or bathroom, regardless of the number of storeys the property has.

What is a ‘household’?

A household is defined as either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:

  • married or living together (including same-sex couples)
  • relatives or half-relatives (eg grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings)
  • step-parents and step-children

What are my responsibilities if I let a HMO?

As well as all your normal legal responsibilities you must ensure:

  • smoke detectors are installed
  • electrics are checked every five years
  • that the property is not overcrowded (there should be a separate room for sleeping for each couple, each single person over 21, and for every two young people aged over 10 years)
  • there are adequate cooking and washing facilities
  • communal areas and shared facilities are clean and in good repair

What is the minimum room size for sleeping?

National minimum room sizes for sleeping will be introduced:

  • Minimum 4.64 square metres – one person under 10 years
  • Minimum 6.51 square metres – one person over 10 years
  • Minimum 10.22 square metres – two people over 10 years
  • Any room where the ceiling height is less than 1.5 metres cannot be used towards any minimum room size

You must contact your local council to determine whether you need a HMO licence before you let to tenants. If not, you could risk a fine of up to £20,000.

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