HMO (HOUSE IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION)
For many years, the question of whether a property is in multiple occupation ( House in Multiple Occupation ) has been the subject of varying interpretation across the country and the courts resulting in widespread confusion for landlords and the inconsistent application of housing standards.
The Housing Act 2004 and associated regulations have sought to clarify the situation with a new definition of which properties will be considered to be in ‘multiple occupation’.
From now on if a landlord lets a property which is one of the following types it is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO):
Do I need a licence?
Not all House in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) as defined about will need a licence. However, from 6th April 2006 you will need to apply for a one if it falls within the scope of one of the following schemes:
Mandatory Licensing is probably the most significant for most landlords.
All House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) comprising three or more storeys which have five or more occupants (forming two or more households) will require a licence. The only exception relates to buildings converted into fully self contained flats. When counting the storeys of a building, a landlord must include loft conversions and basements with a ‘habitable use’ (including basements used as an integral part of the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) such as utility rooms).
For further information on Mandatory Licensing go to the Government website
More information about the other Licensing schemes can be obtained from your local authority.
Discretionary ‘Additional’ Licensing is where a local authority can choose to make an additional licensing scheme that may apply to House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) which do not fall within the mandatory licensing criteria detailed above.
Additional licensing schemes may apply to such categories of House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) as the local authority considers appropriate, but before making such a scheme it must identify specific antisocial behaviour or management problems with those House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). Such schemes require the consent of the Government and may be in force for a maximum period of five years.
Transitional Licensing Schemes (TLS) are transitional licensing schemes that can be adopted by local authorities that already have House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Registration Control Schemes in effect. Under a TL, House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Registration Schemes will be allowed to continue for a further 3 years.
Discretionary ‘Selective’ Licensing is where a local authority can choose to licence all privately rented property (whether House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) or not) in areas where specific problems have been identified, such as areas of low demand and/ or antisocial behaviour.
Who is responsible for applying?
The person responsible for applying for a licence is the person having control of, or the person managing the property i.e. the landlord who lets the property and collects the rent.
Where do I get one?
Landlords will have to apply to their Local Authority to obtain a licence. This involves landlords submitting an application form and then paying the application fee. It then may be necessary for the property to be inspected before one can be issued. In granting the Licence both the suitability of the landlord applicant and the property will be considered.
As part of the inspection aspects such as: the properties layout, room sizes, accommodation standards and fire safety will all be considered against the Local Authorities House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) standards. It may be as a result that changes to the property are required before a licence is issued to a landlord.
Licensing charges on landlords are supposed to reflect the costs involved in administering the scheme. Fees vary widely between local authorities. Recent research (Dec 06) carried out be www.landlordlaw.co.uk indicate that the cost of the licence fee can be as little as £140 as is the case with Cornish Local Authorities right up to £1100 to licence a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Newcastle.
These costs may pale into insignificance compared to the costs of upgrading the property to ensure that it complies with the Local Authorities House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) standards. Structural alterations or the installation of expensive fire alarm systems could cost thousands even tens of thousands in some extreme cases, dwarfing the cost of the application fee.
What will happen if I don’t apply?
It is an offence for a landlord to operate an House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence. Penalties for non-compliance include a maximum fine of £20,000.
FORMS FOR LETTING PROPERTY
FINANCE AND TAX ON RENTAL PROPERTY
RENTAL PROPERTY REGULATIONS
INVESTING IN BTL PROPERTY
WHAT TO BUY
BUYING OFF PLAN
KNOWING THE RISKS
MANAGING YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY
NON - PAYMENT OF RENT
GETTING YOUR MONEY BACK
THE TENANT WONT MOVE OUT
THE TENANT DOES A BUNK
RAISING THE RENT
REDUCING THE RENT
REPAYING THE TENANCY DEPOSIT
DAMP, MOULD AND CONDENSATION
LETTING RENTAL PROPERTY
LEGISLATION ON LETTING PROPERTY
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
HOUSING ACT APPEAL DISPUTES
THE LANDS TRIBUNAL
RIGHTS OF LIGHT APPLICATION
APPEALS FROM LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS (LVT's)
POSSESSION - SECTION 8 NOTICE
POSSESSION - SECTION 21 NOTICE
SECTION 21 TIMETABLE AND PROCESS
GROUNDS FOR POSSESSION
HARASSMENT BY LANDLORDS
RENT DISPUTES BETWEEN LANDLORD & TENANT
FAIR RENT (RAC)
MARKET RENT UNDER AST
LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS
MODIFICATION OF RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS