Houses in multiple occupation
If you rent out bed sits, a shared house or house converted into flats special legal provisions may apply. These properties are also known as houses in multiple occupation (HMO).
The Housing Act 2004 (opens in a new window) introduced a new definition of HMO and a new national mandatory HMO licensing scheme. (opens in a new window) .
What is an HMO?
Under the Housing Act 2004, if a landlord lets a property which is one of the following types it is a House in Multiple Occupation:
An entire house or flat let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet
A house which has been converted entirely into bedsits or other non-self-contained accommodation which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and who share kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities
A converted house which contains one or more flats which are not wholly self contained (ie the flat does not contain a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by three or more tenants who form two or more households
A building which is converted entirely into self-contained flats if the conversion did not meet the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one-third of the flats are let on short-term tenancies
In order to be an HMO the property must be used as the tenants' only or main residence and it should be used solely or mainly to house tenants. Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence and the same will apply to properties which are used as domestic refuges
What is a household?
A household is now defined as occupiers of the same family and includes spouses, co-habitees, same sex couples and any blood relative.
The GOV.UK (opens in a new window) website can provide you with more information and help you to determine if your house is an HMO.
Alternatively, contact us for more information.
Housing standards in HMOs
As well as meeting the general standards for residential premises (see Renting out your property (opens in a new window) ), HMOs must also achieve requirements for fire precautions and means of escape in case of fire. The extra requirements aim to protect the health and safety of occupants and to prevent serious discomfort. They ensure the building is reasonably suitable for occupation by the number of residents.
These requirements are set out in the council's Amenity Standards (pdf, 67kb) (opens in a new window) for mandatory HMO licensing and other HMOs.
In addition the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 replaces previous fire safety legislation and requires that the 'responsible person' perform a fire risk assessment for the common areas of all HMO's. Further information can be obtained from the Department for Communities and Local Government website (opens in a new window) and Dorset Fire and Rescue (opens in a new window) .
For further information please contact your local council.
- Mandatory HMO Licensing
The Housing Act 2004 introduces Mandatory Licensing for certain types of HMO (House in Multiple Occupancy) and this mandatory licensing applies nationally.