MenuSearch

First time landlord's guide

This guide is aimed at first time landlord’s but could also prove useful for landlords with previous experience. Follow the links to see each section in detail.


Step 3

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

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). These rentals are either defined as a standard HMO, or large HMO.

Free valuation service from Your Move - book now

What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

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

  • at least three tenants live there, forming more than one ‘household’
  • the tenants share toilet, bathroom and/or kitchen facilities

What is a large HMO?

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

  • the property is at least three storeys high
  • at least five tenants live there, forming more than one ‘household’
  • the tenants share a toilet, bathroom and/or kitchen facilities

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 are my responsibilities if I let a large HMO?

As well as those responsibilities covered by a standard HMO, you must ensure you have been approved for a HMO licence by your local council. A HMO licence will last for five years and will only be granted if:

  • the property meets an acceptable standard (ie. it is large enough for all occupants and well managed)
  • the property is managed by a ‘fit a proper’ person  (no criminal record or breach of letting legislation)

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.