As a property owner running an HMO, there are quite a number of issues that you need to deal with almost on a daily basis. Regardless of whether or not you have hired a property manager to run your affairs, these legal concerns ultimately fall back on your plate. That is why you, as the property owner, need to be on top of things when they come up. Here is a quick list of all the biggest legal concerns to be on top of with HMOs.
General safety and fire concerns
When it comes to safety, the law does not play around. As a landlord, there are a few things with which you must comply if you are to remain in business. For starters:
- There must be enough fire escape routes and means in place.
- There must be at least a smoke detector and alarm for every floor of the HMO.
- There must be carbon monoxide detectors in every room that have a functional fireplace.
- There must be fire extinguishers as well as fire blankets on every floor.
These are just the basic requirement. Each local Government might have additional pointers so it pays to check with them on what more you need to do and have in place.
Evictions and tenancy agreements
This is where everything gets murky. The simplest thing to do with tenancy agreements is to have them drafted in such a way that it does not completely leave you with your hands tied behind your back. Especially when it comes to evictions of troublesome tenants. Typically, there are several acceptable reasons why a landlord can legally evict a tenant:
- When a tenant is late on rent payments for at least two straight months.
- When a tenant is regularly late with their rent.
- When the tenant breaches any of the terms stated out in the agreement. – When a tenant lets the property fall into unacceptable disrepair.
- When a tenant causes problems with the neighbours.
- When a tenant is involved in illegal activities.
As a landlord, however, you might be liable to legal action should you do any one of the followings in an effort to evict your tenant:
- Cutting off their gas or electricity supply.
- Not carrying out the necessary repairs.
- Locking them out.
- Threatening them with physical violence.
You must also provide the sitting tenant with adequate notice if you want them to leave the premise for whatever reason.
As a landlord running an HMO, it is best to have a solicitor on standby when dealing with these sorts of things. This being a very litigious society, you never know which tenants may decide to bring legal action against you for something you didn’t even know was illegal. Always be prepared by seeking legal counsel first before taking any drastic measures towards perceived offenders.