If you rent out a property to several tenants who are not members of the same family, it may be classed a “House in Multiple Occupation” (known as an HMO).
Whereas up until 1 Octo ber 2018, an HMO was only applicable to property of at least three storeys, changes to the law now means that all properties could apply.
Is your property an HMO?
Your property is an HMO if both of the following apply:
- at least three tenants live there, forming more than one household*
- toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared
* A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together, whereas 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
Do you need a Licence?
- An HMO must have a licence if it is occupied by five or more people; however, note that some councils may include other criteria. Find out if you need a licence from your local council.
- If you already have an HMO licence under the current definition, this will continue to be valid until the licence expiration date (usually 5 years from date of issue). After the expiration you will need to apply for a new licence as usual.
- There is an important exception: if the property is in a purpose-built block of flats comprising 3 or more units
Minimum Bedroom Size
Since 1 October 2018, the regulations state that bedroom sizes must be at least:
- 6.51 square metres for an adult
- 10.22 square metres for two adults
- 4.64 square metres for a child under 10 years old
Some councils may set higher standards for bedroom sizes.
If a room is used as bedroom and doesn’t meet the size requirement, your council may allow you up to 18 months to make the room larger or you will need to move the tenant to a different bedroom.
The council can prosecute or fine you if a bedroom is smaller than standards allow.
The council must carry out a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) risk assessment on your property within five years of receiving a licence application. If the inspector finds any unacceptable risks during the assessment, you must carry out work to eliminate them.
The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 SI 2018/221 & The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/616 can be read on Gov.uk.