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HMO Questions & Answers

What is an HMO?

Under the changes in the Housing Act 2004, if you let one of the following types of property it is an HMO:

  • An entire house or flat which is let to 3 or more tenants who form 2 or more households and who share either 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 either kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities;
  • A converted house which contains one or more flats with exclusive use of facilities, 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
  • Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their only or main residence and the same will apply to properties used as domestic refuges. This also applies to asylum seekers and dependents who have been provided with accommodation under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999(a) and the accommodation is provided under contract to, or on behalf of, the National Asylum Support Service.
Is a block of Flats an HMO?

A purpose-built block of flats is not an HMO. However, an individual flat within it might be if it is let to 3 or more tenants who form at least 2 households, that is, at least 1 person is unrelated to the others.

If the block is a house which has been converted entirely into self contained flats, the conversion will be regarded by local housing authorities as an HMO if it does not comply at least with the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations and if more than one third of the flats are let on short leases. These blocks of flats are not subject to mandatory HMO licensing.

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