What is an HMO?


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An HMO is a property where two or more households occupy as tenants. HMO’s are common in the UK. Legally, for a building to be a HMO, the landlord has to willingly let out the house to the households. In some cases, the landlord needs a license; HMO’s that are large must be licensed (mandatory licensing). HMO’S are classified as large if the building has 3 or more floors, and if 5 or more people, who form 2 or more households, reside there. If your landlord fails to get a HMO licensed, they can be prosecuted and fined up to the tune of £20,000. HMO’s add more responsibilities to the landlord, aside from default maintenance, some of which are:

  • Security: The overall general security of the property must increase functional smoke detectors with alarms, well-bolted doors, and a fire escape.
  • Water Supply: The quality of the water supply must be consistently high, and at no point in time must the water supply be unreasonably disrupted.
  • Appliances Check: Occasional safety checks must be carried out on electrical installations and gas connections.

Some determinants for setting the number of tenants in a building are:

  • Family: According to the law, an application of tenancy cannot be rejected where a family is involved, especially children. If the number, however, is way more than the normal standard, rejection might be justifiable.
  • Size of Property: If the property is large enough, the landlord may be obliged to take in more tenants.

Students can reside in HMOs too, however, not all student environments are categorized as HMOs. Students halls and hostels are not regarded as HMOs.

The bottom line is, even though there are housing regulations, the admittance of tenants still rests on the landlord. With proper consultation, your landlord may set the maximum number of tenants per unit.


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