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Does my landlord need to get a HMO license?

The 1985 Housing Act definition of "House in Multiple Occupation" was a "house which is occupied by persons who do not form a single household"

Over the years, a body of case law relating to the HMO definition has developed. Currently, in its broadest meaning, a house is 'a building which is constructed or adapted for use as or for the purpose of a dwelling. It is also 'a place fitted and used and adapted for human habitation'. There are a variety of other premises included as houses under case law (e.g. lodging-houses, hostels and hotels occupied by homeless families). Houses converted into flats (whether self-contained flats or not) are still houses.

In general your property will more thank likely qualify as a HMO and require a license if it is a building consisting of three or more storeys and is occupied by five or more tenants in two or more households. If you are not sure if this applies to your property ask yourself:- Is the property rented? Does the property have three or more storeys (including habitable attics or basements)?
Are there five or more unrelated tenants? If you answer "yes" to any of these then it probably needs a HMO license.

Almost all councils are adopting a different set of standards to those set out under the “Fitness Test” of a property by the means of Housing Health & Safety Rating System or (HHSRS), which has 29 prerequisites that councils should check against, the main ones are highlighted here.

Kitchens and cooking arears : There must be kitchen facilities in each room or a suitably located shared kitchen with hot and cold water together with draining boards, installations or equipment for cooking food, electrical sockets, worktops cupboards and rubbish disposal. If its a shared kitchen it must have adequate freezer space or a separate freezer, and appropriate extractor fans, fire blankets and fire doors

Washing and cleaning : There must individual bathing and toilet facilities or shared facilities suitably located, For 4 or fewer occupiers there must be 1 bathroom with bath or showers and 1 toilet which may be situated in the bathroom and for 5 or more occupiers, there must be 1 separate toilet with washbasin and at least 1 bathroom for every 5 occupiers

Heating each unit of living accommodation must be equipped with adequate heating

Other stuff..There must be the appropriate number and type of fire precaution facilities and equipmentincluding smoke detcors and alarms.

Safety rules: The HHSRS makes provisions that the electrical installation must be in sound condition (complying with Plugs Sockets etc (Safety) Regulations 1994,Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 andLow Voltage Electrical (Safety) Regulations 1990) and therefore the only way to make certain that this is safe and to the current specification – 16th Edition of the IEE wiring code, the installation must be inspected by an accredited contractor. Manu councils will only accept an NICEIC or ECA accredited contractor, although there are other accreditation bodies, these are the most widely accepted. The Gas safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and amendments regulations makes it a legal obligation to ensure that ALL gas appliances, whether fixed or portable, be maintained and checked every 12 months. A record should be kept of these checks and any maintenance undertaken. The Fire and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and Fire and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993 regulations apply to all upholstery and upholstered furnishing, loose fittings; permanent or loose covers.

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