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It's not an HMO........... Or is it?

If you're thinking of letting your property on an individual room basis or to a group of sharers, make sure you are aware of the Fire Safety Requirements.

This morning I received a call from a landlord looking for a valuation on his property, fifteen minutes later I was at the house.

It’s lovely - 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, large reception room, modern kitchen and a pretty garden. Recently decorated and apart from a good clean it’s ready to go. I suggest a rental value of around £1800pcm but the landlord has been advised he can get over £2000pcm if he lets the rooms individually or to a group of sharers.

I agree, he probably could, but what a shame he hadn’t thought about making it a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) before decorating. The landlord confidently assures me that despite being on 3 floors, the house is not an HMO as he only wants 4 tenants.

Hmm, he’s almost right. With 3 floors if he had 5 tenants the house would be considered a large HMO and need a mandatory license.

However regardless of the number of floors, a property occupied by 3 or more people from 2 or more households with shared facilities is an HMO, and while not subject to licensing there may be enhanced Fire Safety requirements.

In Enfield, the changes required to this landlord’s property if he were to let to individual tenants would include:

- emergency lighting on the landings,

- heat alarm in the kitchen,

- fire doors,

- bedroom locks that can be opened from the inside without a key,

- smoke alarms on all floors and in all bedrooms,

- smoke alarms linked so that if one goes off they all do.

For a group of sharers the changes would be less extensive than for individuals but still greater than required for a single family unit.

It is always advisable to get advice about the requirements for your property as early as possible.

For more information about the local property market and how to safely (and legally) let your property please contact the office.

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