What is an HMO license

Published:
July 30, 2023
Last updated:
March 11, 2024
A close-up of a form.

Introduction

What is an HMO property exactly? House in Multiple Occupation is referred to as an HMO. A home or apartment that is rented out by a group of at least three individuals who are not members of a single household is what HMO refers to.

Single people, couples, families with children, foster parents, and caregivers can all be included in a home.

In an HMO, the residents usually share common areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and occasionally living quarters as well.

There are several lodging options that might be categorised as HMOs. These might comprise, but are not restricted to:

  • housing for students
  • Bedsits
  • Breakfast in bed
  • Hostels\Guesthouses
  • homes rented to guests.

The phrase encompasses a wide variety of possible qualities, as you can see. However, a decent generalisation is that a home may be classified as an HMO if there are three or more inhabitants, that are not of the same household, who share amenities like the kitchen or bathroom.

Which features determine whether or not a property is deemed to be a HMO?

Any property that wants to be labelled as an HMO must have several characteristics in common. Those characteristics are:

  • Not one home is being formed by the occupants (see note above)
  • Residents must use the home as their primary or exclusive dwelling.
  • The space must only be utilised for residential reasons.
  • Rent must be paid by at least one resident.

These common characteristics are applicable to individual apartments, however when considering entire converted blocks, different restrictions apply.

Landlord responsibilities when managing an HMO

As already noted, landlords who manage an HMO must keep track of health and safety concerns and make sure their property complies with HMO renting regulations.

When operating an HMO, it's important to bear in mind the following:

  • Gas safety: yearly inspections
  • Electrical safety: five-year inspections
  • Installed and maintained smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for fire safety
  • They are supplied with garbage disposal facilities
  • Providing and maintaining adequate cooking, cleaning, and laundry facilities
  • Communal spaces must be maintained tidy and uncluttered
  • The control of crowded conditions
A book and a piece of paper on a tray.

Standards and regulations

To be leased lawfully, an HMO must adhere to the minimal requirements set down by law. You must check that the property is:

  • Safe - for instance, make sure the property has current gas and electrical safety certificates.
  • The council will thereafter require an updated gas safety certificate each year.
  • Installation and upkeep of smoke alarms
  • Offer all electrical appliance safety certifications upon request.
  • If the property is managed properly, you or your agent are deemed "fit and proper," meaning they have no prior convictions and have not broken any laws or codes of conduct pertaining to landlords.
  • Kitchen and bathroom facilities that are sufficient for the number of residents; adequate sanitary facilities (this depends on its size and facilities).

Additionally, you should inquire with your local council because they can have extra requirements for your licence. For instance, they can ask you to raise the calibre of your facilities. When you apply for your HMO licence, they must inform you of these details.

Supporting Documents Required When Applying for an HMO Licence

The following supporting documentation will probably need to be included with your application for an HMO licence:

  • Photo identification of the potential licensee
  • the recommended manager's photo ID
  • newest certificate of fire alarm testing
  • An electrical installation condition report from the past five years attesting to the state of the property's whole permanent electrical wiring and lighting circuits
  • Current Gas Safety Register for Landlords (gas safety certificate)
  • A sample lease or conditions of occupancy Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) certification, which covers all portable electric appliances provided to the tenants
  • Fire risk assessment copy
  • Floor layouts that show how each floor is organised
  • Photo identification of the potential licensee
  • the recommended manager's photo ID
  • newest certificate of fire alarm testing
  • An electrical installation condition report from the past five years attesting to the state of the property's whole permanent electrical wiring and lighting circuits
  • Current Gas Safety Register for Landlords (gas safety certificate)
  • A sample lease or conditions of occupancy Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) certification, which covers all portable electric appliances provided to the tenants
  • Fire risk assessment copy
  • Floor layouts that show how each floor is organised

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