A HMO property has different landlord obligations and licences. Not sure what HMO means? Read our guide to learn more about Houses in Multiple Occupation.

Whether you want to rent out a property or seeking a housemate, it’s important to know all the lingo before getting started. You may have seen the term flying around when looking for advice, but what is a HMO?

HMO is an acronym for House in Multiple Occupation and is partly defined by three or more unrelated tenants living in one property. Two unrelated people sharing a house or flat would not be considered a HMO, even if they aren’t married.

One of the underlying points of HMOs is that there has to be a form of sharing. This often comes in the form of communal areas or facilities.

Popular types of HMOs include:

  • Shared housing where three or more unrelated housemates share kitchen and bathroom facilities.
  • Private student accommodations.
  • Hostels.
  • Bed and breakfasts that aren’t just used for short holidays.

What Responsibilities Does It Come With?

A HMO property does come with legal responsibilities and work. This is to reduce the risk of fire as well as to ensure the tenants’ facilities are up to standard.

As well as the regular duties of a landlord, the owner of a HMO must make sure that:

  • Annual gas safety checks are carried out.
  • Effective fire safety measures are in place, including properly working smoke alarms.
  • The facilities are big enough for all tenants, including the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • There are enough rubbish bins.
  • The electrics are checked at least every five years.
  • All the communal areas are of a good standard.
  • The structure and exterior of the house is in good condition, including walls and window frames.

Landlords who have applied or renewed a licence after 1st October 2018 must now meet a minimum size requirement. The council can prosecute or give you a fine if a bedroom in a HMO Is smaller than the given standards.

What Is A HMO Licence?

Not everyone needs a HMO licence, even if there are three or more unrelated people living together. You’ll only need one if the household is considered a large HMO, which is defined by the following:

  • The property is rented to five or more unrelated occupants.
  • It must form more than one household. A household is defined by a single person or members of the same family who live together. For example, a married couple would be considered one household as would family members living together.
  • They share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.
  • At least one tenant or their employer pays rent.

If this sounds like your tenancy situation, the landlord must apply for a HMO licence on the GOV.UK website. A licence lasts for five years before it must be renewed.

Don’t think this can be avoided. Landlords can be fined up to 12 months’ worth of rent if they haven’t licensed their HMO property.

If you’re looking to rent out a room or need somewhere to live, check out badi. With our intelligent search options and free chat, you can find the perfect tenant or housemate in an instant.