Multiple Occupation by Heather Hilder on March 14, 2019 “HMOs & Private Landlords”Multiple OccupationAs a Landlord, you might well have heard the term HMO – Houses in Multiple Occupation – mentioned by your Letting agent. What exactly is an HMO? What are the implications for the private Landlord?HMOHMOs (or Houses in Multiple Occupation) have a specific meaning in terms of the legislation that applies to it.A property is considered to be in multiple occupation if the following conditions are met:At least three Tenants live in the propertyMore than one household exists at the propertyTenants share the toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilitiesAdditionally, the property falls under the category of a “Large HMO” if:The property is more than three storeys highAt least five Tenants live in the property(A “household” is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. In addition, it includes people who are married or living together and people in same-sex relationships.)As an HMO Landlord, you must be licensed in respect of each HMO property, with licences valid for five years.Minimum StandardsAs Landlord, you must meet certain reasonable minimum standards in order to fulfil the obligations of the licence.You must:1. TenantsConfirm that the property is suitable for the number of Tenants in occupation (e.g. size and facilities)2. ManagerAppoint a “manager” – either yourself or your agent. That person must be ‘a fit person’, e.g. no criminal record, breach of Landlord laws nor other criteria3. Gas Safety CertificateSend an updated gas certificate to the Council every year4. Smoke Alarm/sInstall and maintain smoke alarm/s5. Electrical AppliancesProvide safety certificates for all electrical appliances when requestedInterpreting what is regarded as “reasonable” is complex. You must also understand the time limits involved and numerous other aspects of HMOs.FinesFines of up to £20,000 can be imposed if you get it wrong. And yes … Councils DO impose them, as a recent case in Birmingham proved with fines and Tenant compensation totalling over £180,000. Even one electrical appliance left untested can result in a £1,000 fine.Our Sussex Lettings Agency specialises in HMOs. If you have any question as to how to get the most out of this lucrative but complex niche market, contact us on 01273 735237 or email email@example.com . We’d be happy to advise.