Lettings Direct - Letting Agents, Property Management Specialists and Buy to Let Experts.
A HMO Property is a house of multiple occupation, where 3 or more households occupy the property, either on a single tenancy ageement or individual room lets. This could be as basic as 3 people sharing a flat or a large house with 10 or more letting rooms and everything in between. The legislation all gets a little confusing as some HMO properties do require licensing and others don't - this will vary according to the local authorities as some areas such as Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council have "Additional HMO licensing" which is often reffered to as C4 licensing which is mainly aimed at student properties.
There are currently two types of HMO licenses and details are listed below:
Mandatory HMO licensing is for Houses in Multiple Occupation. Legislation regarding the larger HMOs came into force on the 6 April 2006. principly, this relates to properties which comprises of three or more storeys and is occupied by five or more people who form two or more households (ie. not a single family). A licence for the property is required under the Mandatory HMO licensing scheme.
Various local authorities have introduced an additional HMO licensing scheme which will cover all HMOs (excluding those subject to Mandatory Licensing)h where the property is rented to three or more people, forming two or more households - typically this has been intriduced to curb te growth of sudent houses.
With both types of HMO license the Landlord does have to make an application to the local authority and pay an application fee - this will vary dependant on the number of bedrooms at the property. Its also worth noting that the issuing of the license is at the council discretion and Landlords will need to ensure they have met the criteria needed, which will include, amenity space per person, fire safety, proper management of the property and responsibility of the tenants.
There are certain criteria that the holder of a HMO must ensure and this would include the management of the property is dealt with by a "Fit & Proper" person and does not have previous convictions.
HMO licenses will last for a maximium of 5 years afterwhich the Landlord will have to renew accordingly.
The HMO licensing is mainly governed by the Housing Act 2004 - part 2, however, there are additional act's that also are in force. We understand that it is a criminal offence to operate a HMO property without a license and there is a maximium penalty of £20,000.