HMO Guide

A lot of people do not realise that a HMO is not just a room by room let but 3 friends sharing a property would class as a HMO and you have to have some of the basic health and safety items to meet the regulations set out.

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a specific type of rental property that is subject to regulations and requirements. HMOs are typically defined by the presence of multiple unrelated individuals or households living together in a single property and sharing common facilities. Here’s a guide to understanding what an HMO is and the key considerations associated with them:

• At least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
• Tenant share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

Your home is a large HMO if both of the following apply:
• At least 5 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
• You share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:
• Married or living together – including people in same-sex relationships
• Relatives or half-relatives, for example grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
• Step-parents and step-children

  • HMOs can take various forms, including shared houses, flats, student accommodations, and boarding houses.
  • Some properties may require specific licenses or meet certain criteria to be classified as HMOs, which can vary by location and local regulations.
  • HMOs of 5 or more people require a mandatory licensing. The specific licensing requirements, fees, and application processes may differ depending on your location.
  • Licensed HMOs are subject to regular inspections to ensure they meet safety and maintenance standards.
  • HMOs must adhere to strict health and safety standards. This includes fire safety measures, gas and electrical safety checks, and maintaining adequate facilities for tenants.
  • Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers may be required, and escape routes must be clearly marked.
  • Landlords must provide written tenancy agreements to each tenant, specifying the terms of the rental, responsibilities, and the rent amount.
  • Tenancy agreements can be individual or joint, depending on the arrangement of the tenants.
  • Landlords or property managers of HMOs have additional responsibilities compared to single-family rentals. They must maintain common areas, provide essential services, and address tenant concerns promptly.
  • Regular property inspections are often necessary to ensure the property is well-maintained.
  • Local authorities, such as city or municipal councils, often have specific regulations related to HMOs. These can include minimum room sizes, waste disposal, and noise control.
  • In some areas, there may be planning and zoning restrictions on HMOs. Check with your local authority to understand any restrictions that may apply.
  • It’s crucial for landlords to ensure that their HMO property is properly licensed and in compliance with all relevant regulations and safety standards. Non-compliance can lead to fines, legal issues, and potential eviction of tenants.

In summary, Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) provide housing for multiple individuals or households in a shared property. They are subject to specific regulations and requirements to ensure the safety and well-being of tenants. If you’re a landlord or tenant considering an HMO, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations and ensure compliance with all applicable requirements. At Belvoir we have a team of people who understand these laws and regulations, from the people you talk to in the office to the legal support and the HMO inspector who visits your property to make sure you are compliant.