What is a house in Multiple Occupation?
There is more than one definition of a HMO for the purposes of the Housing Act 2004, Planning Acts and Council Tax.
Housing Act 2004.
Generally a HMO is a building or flat that is occupied by more than one household sharing the basic amenities.
- A basic amenity means a kitchen, bathroom or WC.
- Unrelated individuals are considered as individual households.
- A flat or house that is occupied by three or more unrelated individuals for example students or professionals sharing the basic amenities is a HMO.
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006
Landlords who let HMO’s have on-going responsibilities to manage the house in accordance with HMO Management regulations.
The Regulations require managers to ensure for example
- That the managers contact details are clearly displayed in the property.
- That the house is safe and kept in good order and repair.
- That there are adequate fire precautions in the house.
- That the alarm system is regularly tested and maintained.
- The common parts, fixture and fittings are kept clean and well maintained.
- That adequate waste disposal facilities are provided.
Failure to comply with the regulations is a criminal offence. Large fines have been handed down to landlords who have not complied properly with the Regulations.
Housing Audit Services can help landlords to comply with the HMO Management Regulations by regularly auditing their property.
Basic responsibilities of renting out a house
If you are renting out your property either to a single household or to individuals or a student group as a House in Multiple Occupation there are some responsibilities that you must take when becoming a private landlord.
By following this advice and maintaining a housebook that can be obtained from Housing Audit Services you will avoid some of the common mistakes made by some private landlords.
- Obtain written consent from your mortgage lender before renting out the property.
- Obtain references from potential tenants and have a formal tenancy agreement. Assured shorthold tenancies are the most common type. Tenancy agreements that you can compete yourself are available from many stationery shops.
- If you take deposit you must legally protect it.
- Obtain an energy performance certificate. (EPC)
- Minimise the fire risk. Housing Audit Services can advise you on what type of fire precautions are required and help you arrange for the installation.
- Ensure that your property presents no risk to your tenants’ health and safety for example preventing condensation related mould growth, making sure the electrical installation and appliances are safe and the gas appliances are regularly checked.
- Ensure that you are familiar with the local arrangements for waste and recycling provisions and collections.
- If you rent your house as a House in Multiple Occupation you will need to make sure that you comply with the The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. Housing Audit Services can help you to comply with the regulations.
- Take expert advice from one of the landlords associations for example the Eastern Landlords Association, they can also be reached by telephone here: 01603 767 101.