If you're living with other people in a shared flat or house, or in a bedsit, hostel or bed and breakfast, you're probably living in a house in multiple occupation or HMO. We explain what HMO is and your rights & responsibilities as a tenant.
What is HMO?
HMO is short for House of Multiple Occupancy. It refers to any property that is shared by three or more people who are not members of the same family. If you currently live or are going to move into a shared flat or house this will be a HMO and the landlord must have a HMO licence. This licence makes sure that the property you’re renting meets certain safety standards and is managed properly.
Before the council gives the landlord the license, they will carry out the following checks.
- They will check that the landlord is fit and proper to hold a licence. This includes checking the landlord doesn't have any criminal convictions.
- They will make sure the property is managed properly. This includes making sure that your landlord has provided you with a written tenancy agreement.
- They will make sure the property meets the required standards. This includes making sure rooms are a decent size, there are enough kitchen and bathroom facilities for the number of people living there, and that gas and electrical fittings are adequate and safe.
Your landlord must maintain the house or flat that you live in to keep their HMO licence. This includes things like:
- Making sure shared areas are kept in good repair;
- Heating, hot water and ventilation facilities must be in good working order;
- Electrical and gas products are safe and tested regularly;
- Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers must be in good working order and the fire escape route is clear and safe;
- Furniture supplied must meet safety standards;
- Roof, windows and exterior of building must be well maintained;
- Enough rubbish bins are provided;
- And your deposit is returned to you within a reasonable time of you moving out.
As a tenant you will also have some responsibilities. This includes things like:
- Letting your landlord know about any repairs that are needed;
- Not damaging the flat or house;
- Disposing of rubbish properly;
- Letting the landlord regularly inspect the property;
- Behaving responsibly so you don’t upset or annoy the neighbours.
If you don’t think your landlord is meeting the standards you would expect or isn’t managing the property properly you have a couple of options. The first thing you can do is talk to your landlord. They might not even know that there is a problem with the property until you raise it with them. If you have told them about it and the property is still not being managed properly you can contact the council. They have the power to make sure your landlord is managing the property well bring the conditions of the HMO up to standard.
Find out more about Private Renting by heading to the New Digs Campaign page