Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)
A House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a house or flat occupied by people who do not form a single household and who share basic amenities.
The law (Housing Act 2004) says an HMO is a house or flat that is let to three or more unrelated tenants (or 2 or more households) who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. In order to be an HMO the property must be the tenants main home or principal address, this will include properties let to migrant workers.
In 2006, regulations to control the management of both licensable and non-licensable HMOs were introduced.
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 impose duties on the person managing the HMO, for example:
- Making sure the contact details of the landlord are made available to the occupiers. Details must be clearly displayed in a common part of the HMO.
- Ensuring that the HMO is safe for the occupiers, especially in relation to the Fire precautions, Gas and Electrical Safety.
- The property must be maintained in a reasonable condition, this includes all fixtures, furnishings and appliances.
- The gardens must be free from waste and kept in a tidy condition.
Although there is no prescriptive frequency to demonstrate compliance with the HMO Management Regulations, we consider that the manager should carry out an inspection at least once a month. These inspections should include checking for any disrepair and cleanliness issues together with maintenance of the fire precautions, not only in the communal areas, but also in bedrooms. Inspections should be recorded and we may request to see these records at any time. A free 'House Inspection Log Book' is provided for landlords who sign up to our Partnership Accreditation for Landlords (PAL) Scheme. For more information visit the PAL website.
The Occupiers also have some duties under the regulations, for more information about the duties of the manager and the occupiers please download our fact sheet Housing in Multiple Housing Occupation [642KB].
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
All properties, including HMOs, can be assessed under the HHSRS. This provides a system of assessing the Health and Safety of residential premises. There are a list of 29 hazards that can be taken into consideration including; damp and mould, excess cold, falls on stairs, and inadequate security measures.
If you want any advice about whether your property, or a property you manage is an HMO, please contact the Private Sector Housing Team.