News & Insights

Home (not) Alone – Houses of Multiple Occupation, Mandatory Licensing and the Proposed Changes…

What is a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

A HMO is a home where at least 3 tenants live, forming more than one household, and the tenants share basic amenities (for example, bathroom or kitchen facilities).

“One household” can be:

  • one single person; or
  • members of the same family (for example, spouses, partners or relatives)

who live together.

When does a HMO require mandatory licensing?

If a home is considered a large HMO, it will be subject to mandatory licensing by the Council. Currently, a large HMO is one that:

  • comprises of 3 or more storeys;
  • is occupied by 5 or more people forming more than one household; and
  • the occupiers share the basic amenities.

Changes in the law from 1 October 2018

From 1 October 2018, the government has proposed some changes in the HMO licensing laws including the removal of the “3 or more storeys” requirement.

This will mean that smaller HMOs may also be caught by the mandatory licensing scheme.

Examples of properties that may be subject to mandatory HMO licensing under the new rules

  • A house comprising of 5 single occupiers who share basic amenities
  • A self-contained flat comprising of 2 families of 3 who share amenities
  • A mixed-use building comprising of commercial premises on the ground floor and self-contained flats above where one of the flats is occupied by 5 people forming more than one household. That particular flat will require a HMO licence.

The rules on mandatory HMO licensing can vary depending on the location of the Property as local authorities have the ability to extend licensing requirements to other types of HMOs in their area.

The above requirements are therefore only an indication of the rules so please speak to your local authority for their specific requirements.

Failure to apply for a licence is a criminal offence and can result in an unlimited fine.

If you wish to discuss the above, please contact Foskett Marr Gadsby & Head LLP’s Property Teams, based in Epping and Loughton, on 01992 578 642.