Certain types of rented properties are termed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO). As the term implies, this is generally where the property or dwelling is not occupied by a single family.
There are special rules that apply to these type of properties, designed to ensure that the properties are safe and are well managed. This is largely achieved through a licensing regime.
If you want to know whether the property you live in may be an HMO or is already licensed with the Council, please visit our HMO pages.
As a tenant it is important to know whether your property is a HMO, because, as a tenant of such a property, you have certain additional rights and responsibilities.
- A HMO must be managed properly - and failure of the manager or landlord to do so can be a criminal offence
- Many HMO's must be licenced with the Council. This will ensure that the property is suitable for the number of occupants and that the management arrangements are acceptable
- Occupants of a HMO (and those of neighbouring properties) can be protected from serious harm, by the Council taking over the management of the property (where this is an appropriate last resort)
- Where Landlords are convicted of failing to licence a HMO, tenants can make a claim for rent repayments
- As a tenant of a HMO you must reasonably allow the management to carry out their duties - and deliberately obstructing them from doing so can be an offence.
- If you occupy a licensable HMO which is not licenced), your landlord will not be able to evict you using a 'section 21 notice'. This means that you cannot be evicted without 'grounds' - such as non payment of rent. (A property is an 'unlicenced HMO' until the application is made. Please see our pages on tenancy matters
Examples of obstruction can include any action that does not allow the manager to carry out duties as laid down in the 'Management Regulations'. Managers are expected to report tenants to the Council in such circumstances. Information on what these duties are can be found on the Management Responsibilities page.
What you can do
You can check the status of your HMO by checking our public register. You should contact us if you think your property is an unlicensed HMO.
You can also contact us if you think that your landlord is failing to manage your home properly. The Council will investigate your concerns and may take proceedings against the manager if appropriate. The Council will try to retain the anonymity of informants and complainants as far as is practicable.