HMO properties are an excellent choice to promote togetherness and kinship in a community, and often times tenants that live in HMOs manage to keep costs down and find sharing communal areas much more efficient and less wasteful than having private ones. Benefits apply to everyone involved, though there is a lot of work and effort that goes into obtaining the right licensing, and there are certain things that legally constitute an HMO.
It is absolutely necessary that you have licensing to avoid any legal problems. The path can be convoluted and multiple types of things are required to apply for licensing to let HMO properties, but it is worth it.
There are a few prerequisites to obtaining licensing for HMOs. If your property fits the following, you will need an HMO license to operate:
- You must have separate tenants. Less than 5 individuals in the property can still be considered an HMO, but it largely depends on your own layout and where the place is located, such as above commercial buildings.
- Your property is at least three storeys. Places of residence must have a certain amount of floors to be considered HMO housing as there must be enough places to live for each household, and enough space for communal areas to be shared. Additionally, keep in mind that the height and population of the building means it is an absolute necessity to keep the building’s fire alarms and other such tools up to date and in working condition.
- The property must have communal areas, such as a kitchen, bathroom, or WC. It essentially isn’t an HMO residence if there is no particular kind of communal area, so you must allot for a shared space for your residents! Communal areas are subjective based on location and can be anything small such as laundry rooms, stairways, and must be inside the building for it to be considered an HMO. Your residents cannot leave the building to external facilities, and your facilities cannot be open to the public.
These points are not subjective; however, if you own HMO properties that do not meet these standards, you could still be required to apply for licensing anyway, so it’s always good to check with your local council. Keep in mind that you are also required to ensure that the place of residence is suitable for living and all property that comes with the residence must be in working order, and decent for the residents to use. Furthermore, the property manager must also be of capable and professional stature.
In addition, each individual HMO that you own requires its own license. You cannot operate other HMO properties with just one license. Keep in mind that the licensing is a safety net, as nothing comes without its risks, so be sure to settle the licensing before you even start operations. They are an excellent addition to any community if ran properly and fairly, so consider these things and make note on what sorts of improvements you could make in order to provide tenants with the perfect home. Contact your council for information about fees and subjective rules.