Houses in multiple occupation
A house in multiple occupation (“HMO”) is a house or flat occupied by at least three tenants forming more than one household (one family, or one single person), where the kitchen, bathroom or toilet are shared by the tenants.
For a property to be an HMO it must be used as the contract holders, (tenants), only or main residence and it should be used solely or mainly to house tenants. Properties let to students and migrant workers are treated as their only or main residence. This also applies to properties which are used as domestic refuges.
What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?
In accordance with The Housing Act 2004, in order for a building, or part of a building, to form an HMO it must fall within the meaning of one of the following descriptions:
- a building in which two or more households shares a basic amenity e.g. a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities
- a flat in which two or more households shares a basic amenity (all of which are in the flat) eg a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities
- a building which has been converted and does not entirely comprise of self-contained flats and which is occupied by people who do not form a single household
- a building, or part of a building, which has been converted into self-contained flats where the conversion does not meet, at a minimum, the standard required by the 1991 Building Regulations, and less than two-thirds of the flats are owner occupied and where more than two people forming more than one household occupy the building (this type of building is also known as a section 257 HMO).
What is a single household?
People who are not all members of the same family do not form a single household. There are regulations describing specific circumstances where people will be regarded as a single household although they are not related. These include where accommodation is provided in a person's household for a nanny, au pair or carer.
What conditions apply to HMOs?
Licensing is mandatory for all HMOs which have three or more storeys and are occupied by five or more persons forming two or more households.
For more information please visit: Licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMO): guidance for tenants (gov.wales)
Converting a property to an HMO?
You will need to apply for planning permission if you are considering changing the use from a single-family dwelling into HMOs.
Planning law uses the definition outlined in section 254 of the Housing Act 2004. Therefore, shared houses with three or more occupiers or properties converted into flats or bedsits need individual planning consent. For further information, please
Fire safety in Houses in Multiple Occupation
After several recent national and local incidences of tragic facilities in residential accommodation from fires, it is more important than ever that owners or licence holders of HMO’s ensure that their property/ ties comply with the relevant safety measures aimed at protecting tenants.
Fire Safety Risk Assessments
One of your legal obligations as a HMO landlord is to ensure that all licensed premises, including HMO’s are fires risk assessed by the “responsible person” to identify and reduce any fire risk. This is a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005), which is commonly known as the Fire Safety Order (FSO).
It is also your legal obligation to provide evidence of your Safety Certificates for the maintenance of properties’ Fire Alarm System, Emergency Lighting Periodic inspection and testing (if applicable) to the local authority.
Fire Safety Pack
In order to assist Licence Holders and Managers you can access the fire safety pack which includes Fire Risk Assessment proforma and accompanying guidance notes. There are also detailed notes on the fitting, maintaining and checking of fire doors. You will also find access to a Fire Risk Assessment template which you could use.
Register of Licences
If you wish to arrange a viewing of the full register or to request certified copies of it as per your right to do so under the Housing Act 2004, please e-mail email@example.com There is no charge made to view the register, providing no attempt is made to copy it. You can make an appointment between 9.30 – 4.30 on a weekday to look at the register at the Council Offices. There is no charge for this, but you would not be able to copy it. It is important to make an appointment as the register is held securely and will not be available if you come without an appointment.
The license holder’s names and addresses are included as those are required to be included by the regulations. The HMO owners’ names and addresses are personal data and therefore are not disclosed.
Purchase of PDF copy of the full register
The HMO Register can be sent to you as a pdf version by e-mail. The Council is authorized in Housing Act 2004 (section 232) to recover its cost of producing and sending a copy of the HMO Register, and this cost is £50.72.
The reason we supply the Register in pdf format is because advice from the information Commissioner’s Office in 2017 about disclosure of landlords’ names and addresses was as follows.
“As the duty of the council under the Housing Act 2004 is to provide a copy of the register (which will include the name and address of each license holder by virtue of that duty) to a requestor, such a disclosure of personal data is lawful and there would be no breach of the first data protection principle. However, it is the form in which the register is provided where it may be considered unfair and subsequently breach the DPA, such as publishing the full register on the internet. The requirement under the Housing Act is just to provide a copy of the register on request, there is no obligation to make it available electronically since publication on the internet may be unfair and excessive given the potential for ease of access by a large number of people.”
Therefore, the Council is not obliged to make the information available to you in excel or cav format as such forms of disclosure could be a breach of the DPA as it make the names and addresses too accessible.
If you decide that you wish to purchase a pdf copy of the HMC register, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange for a member of staff to contact you by phone to take the card payment of £50.72.
He license holders names and addresses are included as those are required to be included by the regulations. The HMO owner’s names and addresses are personal data and therefore are not included.
Information exempt from disclosure under the FOI Act
Requests to see the full HMO register are exempt from disclosure under FOI, due to the council’s obligations under section 232 of the Housing Act 2004 to someone’s who requested a copy of the HMO Register and paid the required fee.
The council would therefore advise that you e-mail email@example.com to arrange a viewing of the register or to request certified copies of the register as per your right to do so under the Housing Act 2004. The required fee is £50.72 although there is no charge made to see the register providing no attempt is made to copy iit.
In accordance with section 16(1) of the FOI Act, the council has a duty to provide advice and assistant to you, as far as it is reasonable to do so. Therefore, I would advices you that the HMO register with the premises address, data of issue and date of issues and date of expiry but with the personal data such as the licensee’s name not included is available.
For further information on Landlords please visit this link.