A number of privately rented homes within the county borough are Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
What are HMOs?
Under the changes in the Housing Act 2004, if you let or occupy a property which is one of the following types it is a House in Multiple Occupation:
- An entire house or flat which is let to 3 or more tenants who form 2 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 and which is let to 3 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 within it a kitchen, bathroom and toilet) and which is occupied by 3 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.
These homes have to comply with the same general standards of safety for occupation as do all properties, however certain additional requirements are necessary for these properties.
Our private sector housing team periodically inspect all known HMOs within the county borough and have a duty to ensure that all aspects of the accommodation is safe, protected from fire and suitable for occupation.
If you are the landlord or tenant of a HMO and need advice in relation to your property, contact private sector housing on 01495 235216 or email email@example.com.
Certain HMOs are required to be licensed by the council, however very few actually exist within the county borough. Licensing is restricted to HMOs that are 3 or more storeys in height and house 5 or more tenants, made up from 2 or more families.
You can apply for a licence online as part of the EU Services Directive. Visit our House in multiple occupation (HMO) licence for further details and how to apply.
Fire safety regulation has recently changed and now requires owners of certain types of businesses to ensure their premises are free from the risks of fire. The new regulations include the common areas of maisonettes, flats and Houses if multiple occupation.
Housing Fire Safety – A Quick Reference Guide (PDF 59kb)
Housing Fire Safety – Full Guide (PDF 1.6mb)
A series of guides have been produced to help landlords through the requirements and to ensure their residents and property are protected.
A short guide to making your premises safe from fire (PDF 158 kb) (Links to an external website)
To check your compliance with the new legislation, visit the Fire Gateway where you can complete an online assessment.
Grant assistance is offered to landlords where there are inadequate means of fire protection in established Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO). Go to our Home improvements - Houses of Multiple Occupation Grant page for further details.