When does a buy-to-let class as a HMO?

Discussion in 'HMO & Multilet Property' started by KGeeson, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. KGeeson

    KGeeson Property Forum Staff Forum Partner

    I've just been having a conversation about a property i will be living in at the end of the month. It's a 3 bedroom house and i will be the main tenant, but i am sub-letting 2 bedrooms. It's been suggested to me that this might class as an HMO, is this correct? I thought the law was to do with how many tenants / bedrooms there were across so many floors?
     
  2. Luke Masters

    Luke Masters Member Premium Member

    Your home is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:
    • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
    • you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

    Your home is a large HMO if all of the following apply:
    • it’s at least 3 storeys high
    • at least 5 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
    • you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

    A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:
    • married or living together - including people in same-sex relationships
    • relatives or half-relatives, eg grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
    • step-parents and step-children

    However a HMO that must have a licence must be all of the below - if it is only one or two of the following it needn't have a licence:

    Mandatory HMO licensing applies to buildings of three or more storeys and occupied by five or more tenants in two or more households.
     
  3. KGeeson

    KGeeson Property Forum Staff Forum Partner

    Hi Luke,

    thanks for the reply - what do you mean by "forming more than 1 household" in the first bullet point?

    thanks

     
  4. Luke Masters

    Luke Masters Member Premium Member

    @KGeeson

    Hi Kelly,

    A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:
    • married or living together - including people in same-sex relationships
    • relatives or half-relatives, eg grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
    • step-parents and step-children
    Thanks :)
     
  5. Nicholas Wallwork

    Nicholas Wallwork Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Premium Member

    Luke you are correct about the mandatory licensing but not quite correct about the definition of an HMO.

    A small HMO (planning use class C4) is:
    • C4 Houses in multiple occupation - small shared houses occupied by between three and six unrelated individuals, as their only or main residence, who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom.
    A larger HMO has nothing to do with the number of floors just that it contains 7 or more tenants. A large HMO would fall into the "Sui Generis" planning use class.

    See this link for more information:
    http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/commonprojects/changeofuse

    The number of floors simply relates to licensing (in most boroughs I'm operating in and aware of anyway) and has nothing to do with the planning definitions...

    So @KGeeson your situation would be a "C4" small HMO.

    But don't worry! It is highly unlikely to be licenseable (check your councils website to be sure) and it is permitted development to move from C3 (single household) to C4 small HMO. So you are not in breech of any planning as long as it's been used as C3 for a reasonable amount of time before going to C4 use (6 months is normally deemed not de-minimus).
     
  6. KGeeson

    KGeeson Property Forum Staff Forum Partner

    Very helpful advice thank you :)

    So aside from licensing, if it classes as a C4 does that mean that different regulations need to be met in the house (such as fire doors for example - am i right in thinking HMOs should have fire doors on all rooms?)

     
  7. Nicholas Wallwork

    Nicholas Wallwork Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Premium Member

    As far as I'm aware fire doors and other regulations are only required for mandatory licensed HMOs... Best double check with your specific council though and how they view it. My view is do it anyway as you can never be too safe! All my properties are built to a full large HMO spec even if not required to ensure the utmost safety of my tenants...

    As an aside if you were the owner / landlord of the property then you could have upto 2 'non family' lodgers stay with you before it was classed as a C4 small HMO... 3 lodgers and it would however become a C4 HMO.
     
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