What is a HMO Property?

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Editorial Team
August 30, 2023
Last updated:
April 23, 2024
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Any housing that is owned by a private landlord and is shared by several individuals is referred to as HMO; House with Multiple Occupations is the abbreviation. Depending on the number of occupants and the living arrangements, a wide range of various sorts of accommodations may satisfy this description. In general, an HMO is considered to exist when there are three or more tenants residing in a building who constitute more than one family and who share a kitchen, bathroom, or toilet.

What is an HMO property?

Let's first examine what the initialism means: House in Multiple Occupations is abbreviated as HMO. It seems simple enough, right? However, a lot of other accommodations might be classified as HMOs. These might comprise, but are not restricted to:

  • Hostels
  • buildings with many common bathrooms and bedsits
  • joint housing
  • Lodgings
  • buildings with apartments that are self-contained yet have their own amenities
  • private housing complexes
  • Refuges
  • Blocks of remodeled apartments
  • Employees accommodations

As you can see, the phrase has a wide range of meanings. Generally, a building occupied by three or more tenants that constitute more than one family and share amenities like a kitchen, bathroom, or toilet might be classified as an HMO.

A building with persony windows.

What’s the difference between an HMO and a non-HMO property?

The fact that HMO renters may complain to the local council, who is more likely to act than over a non-HMO house, may be the largest difference. Every local council's Environmental Health Department oversees handling complaints concerning health and safety in HMOs and has the authority to order landlords to make repairs. In addition to bringing legal action against the landlord and any managers they employ, the council also has the option of taking over the property's management.

What standards need to be maintained in HMOs?

To be compliant and evade the wrath of their local authorities, HMO landlords must stay on top of health and safety concerns, as was indicated in the section above. Of course, this is only right and appropriate.

The following are important considerations if you are an HMO manager:

  • Annual assessments for gas safety
  • Five-year assessments are done for electrical safety.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be installed and maintained for fire safety.
  • The provision of garbage disposal facilities
  • Provided and maintained are enough facilities for cooking, cleaning, and washing.
  • Keep communal spaces tidy and uncluttered.
  • addressing the problem of overpopulation

What is a HMO License?

Not all HMOs need a license but in certain cases, some do. The local government issues the license. The HMO will typically need one if it is at least three stories high, if at least two separate households (as mentioned above) are residing there, and if there are a total of five or more unconnected residents living in the HMO building.

A landlord who has a home that satisfies the aforementioned criteria must apply for a license with the local authorities, which will determine if the applicant is "fit and suitable" to be an HMO landlord. They will also take into consideration things like the property's size and safety features.

If you're a tenant, it's a good idea to confirm if the landlord has a license for a building that may be an HMO. An HMO landlord without a license (who should have one) is not allowed to employ the section 21 notice procedure, and those who fail to acquire one when they should, can be fined up to 12 months' worth of rent.

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