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HMO Advice for Tenants: Your Landlord’s Responsibilities

HMO Advice for Tenants: Living in shared accommodation – a “house in multiple occupation” (or HMO) – means both you and your landlord have certain responsibilities. Here are your landlord’s responsibilities towards you and other occupants.

What is an HMO?

Before exploring the responsibilities of HMO landlords, let’s briefly define what an HMO is. Essentially, an HMO is a property that is occupied by a minimum of three unrelated individuals* making up a minimum of two separate households and sharing basic amenities (i.e. bathroom, kitchen, etc.).

*This could, for instance, be two couples sharing a room each or three single individuals each with a room of their own.

An HMO could, for example, be a:

  • Shared flat or house where sharing occupants are not family members
  • Shared student accommodation (also it should be noted that many educational establishment-owned student accommodation types and halls of residence are not classified as HMOs)
  • House split into multiple separate bedsits
  • Bed & Breakfast establishment not just for holidays
  • Hostel

HMO landlords must register their properties as ‘houses in multiple occupation’ and obtain a licence. Typically lasting for five years, licences are granted after the responsible council has checked that the:

  • Property meets acceptable standards, i.e. is it well managed and large enough
  • Landlord is a person considered as ‘fit and proper’
  • Bedrooms meet minimum size requirements

You can check whether your home is registered/licensed as an HMO with your local council.

Your Landlord’s Responsibilities

In addition to ensuring that the property meets required standards, is not overcrowded and offers residents adequate bathroom/cooking facilities, HMO landlords must ensure that:

  • Appropriate fire safety measures (incl. working smoke alarms) are in place
  • Gas safety and electrics are checked annually and every 5 years respectively
  • Shared facilities and communal areas are in good repair and clean
  • Adequate refuse disposal (bins, bags) and storage facilities are provided

In addition, your HMO landlord is responsible for repairs to your home’s communal areas and the property’s:

  • Exterior & structure (incl. walls, gutters & window frames)
  • Gas & water pipes
  • Sinks, basins, baths & toilets
  • Water & fixed (radiators) heaters
  • Electrical wiring

It should be noted that such repairs should always be carried out by competent, trained professionals.

Complaints About HMO Landlords

If you believe your landlord is not carrying out his responsibilities/in compliance with these rules, you can contact your local council’s environmental health department. Your council can then perform an assessment looking for specific hazards within a home based on the “Housing Health Safety Rating System. If the property is subsequently found not to be fit or safe to live in, the council can take suitable action against the landlord.

If the law was broken, the council may prosecute HMO landlords/their managers or, in extreme cases, take over the property’s management.

More HMO Advice

For more detailed information, help and advice, please contact us by telephone: 020 3950 8834, online or via e-mail: today.

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