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What is an HMO? Why do I need it?

If your property is intended to be let to multiple tenants that doesn’t belong in the same family, then most likely your property will be required of an ‘HMO’ which is termed as House of Multiple Occupancy License.

The House of Multiple Occupancy Licensing is a required type of license for properties that are letting tenants not belonging to the same family. The terms and condition of the license states: letting 5 or more people, tenants that are sharing house facilities like the kitchen and bathrooms and if the property is at least 3 story high. The other parts of the storey may be a basement or an attic or anything that can help accommodate things.

However, the licensing still depends on where the property is situated and if a license is required even if there are less than 5 persons living in the property, it’s best to consult the council of the area to make sure you use the exact license for your property.

The HMO was introduced in the Housing Act of 2004 and this scheme aims to increase the standard in regulating rented accommodation and to ensure that every property is licensed to suitable tenants that will soon occupy the place.

A landlord or agent acquiring an HMO license must have

  • Must ensure a valid Gas Safety Certificate Annually
  • Installed and maintained Smoke Alarms
  • Safety Certificates Must be provided for all electrical appliances
  • Willing to accept additional conditions given by the council to obtain a standardized property.

A landlord or agent is also obliged to be fit and proper as the license holder. This means that the landlord must not have any criminal case or any record of breach in the codes of conduct as a landlord.

What else must I be aware of as the landlord of a HMO?

  • The HMO license must be renewed before it expires since it only has 5 years of validation.
  • If a landlord or agent has many HMO Properties, then they are required to have a license for each property.
  • Letting a property without a license can be a liability of the landlord and can be punished with a fine of £ 20,000 and a possibility to be marked as an unfit landlord. Unable to get a license as a landlord ma also affect the ability of the landlord to manage and maintain a property.
  • The application of must be done with the council wherein all the fees are settled in accordance to the assigned council.
  • It is common that other licenses also have other requirements, please see your local council for more details.