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What is an HMO and do I need it?

We are going to answer the question ‘What is an HMO and do I need it?’

What is an HMO?

HMO stands for a house for multiple occupation and it is a residential property occupied by three or more people sharing facilities like a bathroom or kitchen who form two or more ‘households’.

A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:

  • Married couples or couples living together as married (including people in same-sex relationships)
  • Relatives or half-relatives e.g. grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, nieces, cousins
  • Step-parents and step-children and half-relatives
  • Foster parents and foster children

There are 3 types of property licensing: mandatory licensing of large HMOs, additional licensing and selective licensing.

Mandatory licensing

This applies nationwide for HMOs where there are five or more occupants in a property and the tenants comprise of two or more households. This will be changed on the 1st of October from the current definition of ‘in a property of three or more storeys’. This therefore requires single storey flats or two storey maisonettes to have a mandatory licence if they have 5 or more occupants. In addition, new mandatory licensing conditions will be introduced prescribing national minimum sizes for rooms used as sleeping accommodation. This requires landlords to adhere to council refuse schemes.

Additional licensing
This is when a council forces a policy requiring other sizes of HMOs to also be licenced. For example, a council can bring in additional licensing requiring all HMOs to be licenced.

Selective licensing
This is at the discretion of the borough and can affect all rental properties. For example, a council can release compulsory licensing for all residential rental properties on a street.

Before granting a licence, the local authority must be satisfied that the owner and any managing agent of the property is fit and proper to hold a licence and that the property meets required physical standards.

To find out if you specifically need an HMO if you are still not sure, do not hesitate to call us on 020 7113 1066.

We hope this answers your question ‘What is an HMO and do I need it?’.  If you are looking to rent a property in Central London, please visit Greater London Properties, Central London’s largest independent estate agent or call us on 0207 113 1066.

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