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Is my property an HMO?

The 2004 Housing Act introduced the need for mandatory licensing. This was due to a trend of the larger, high-risk HMOs being managed poorly. The people who occupy HMOs are amongst the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society so being that HMOs are the only housing option for some people, the government recognised that the HMOs are to be regulated.

Licensing was introduced to ensure that:

  • Landlords and/or property managers are fit and proper people
  • The management of a HMO meets a minimum standard
  • To manage overcrowding

DASH have produced a landlord guide for HMOs:

Where landlords fail to meet the licensing criteria, the council can intervene by using their powers to ensure that vulnerable tenants can be protected.

What is an HMO

HMO stands for Houses in Multiple Occupation, which means a building, or part of a building, such as a flat, that:

  • is occupied by more than one household and where more than one household shares or lacks an amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities
  • is occupied by more than one household and which is a converted building but not entirely self-contained
  • flats, whether or not some amenities are shared or lacking
  • is converted self-contained flats, but does not meet as a minimum standard the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulation and at least one third of the flats are occupied under short tenancies.

The building is occupied by more than one household:

  • As their only or main residence
  • as a refuge for people escaping domestic violence
  • by students during term time
  • for other purposes prescribed by the government, e.g. migrant workers

A household is 

  • includes single people, couples and same sex couples as well as families
  • to be part of the same family people must be a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or cousin in the same family
  • other relationships, such as foster parents, carer and domestic staff




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