Bluestone newport estate agent office

hmo regulations

Renting a property. If you’re an existing landlord, you’ll know it’s not quite as straightforward as it seems. There are lots of rules and regulations that you need to be aware of. The same goes for tenants. If you are a renter, you need to be aware of your responsibilities. And rights.  And, unless you are renting a single household, you enter into a different realm altogether.

The world of Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

Just to clarify for those of you that are unsure, a household relates to a single person, couple or any members of the same family that live together. It doesn’t matter whether the residents are married or single, same sex, or relatives, half relatives or step relatives. They are still a family and therefore classed as a single household.

So, if that’s how we pinpoint single family home residents, the question is how do you know if your Newport home is an HMO?

Well, basically, it has to meet both elements of the following criteria:

  • If there are three or more tenants living in the property, comprising more than two households (ie: they are all unrelated/unconnected)
  • The tenants share the toilet, bathroom and/or kitchen facilities

Depending on the size and or type of property, it may be classed as a HMO. This would be the case if:

  • The property is three or more storeys in height.
  • There are 5 or more tenants who, once again, comprise different households
  • The tenants share the toilet, bathroom and/or kitchen facilities

HMOs are, usually, houses split into bedsits, hostels, B&B’s that aren’t just used for holidays and shared homes such as student properties. (Though halls of residence are generally not classed as HMOs)

Tenants

If you are a tenant in an HMO, your landlord is obliged to meet certain obligations and has standards that they need to adhere to. It’s important that they follow the extra rules to reduce the risk of fire and make sure that you – and all other residents – have adequate facilities.

Your property should have proper fire safety measures, including working smoke alarms. Gas safety checks must be carried out annually and electrics need to be checked every five years.

It’s also important that the home isn’t overcrowded and there are sufficient bathroom and kitchen facilities for the number of residents.

Communal areas should be clean and in good repair and the landlord is responsible for any maintenance in these communal areas.

The landlord is also responsible for maintaining and repairing the structure and exterior of the property, water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, radiators and water heaters and basins, sinks, baths, showers and toilets.

You can contact your local council to report any hazards, as local authorities are responsible for enforcing HMO standards.

Landlords

As a landlord, as well as taking note of your responsibilities outlined above, it’s important to know that HMOs – as previously detailed – must be licensed.

In Wales there is another layer of regulation which is the Rent Smart Wales licensing scheme which all landlords adhere to.  It’s worth checking with your local council to make sure you’re playing by the rules!

HMO Licenses generally last for five years but, again, it depends on the local authority. Licenses are only granted or renewed if the property meets acceptable standards and the landlord is deemed to be a ‘fit and proper’ person.

As a landlord, you are also responsible for ensuring that your tenant/s have the right to rent a home in the UK.

If your HMO requires a license and you don’t have one, you could be fined.

So, before you dive in – either as a tenant or landlord – make sure everyone involved is ticking all the right boxes!

For help with renting out your property, or finding somewhere to live as a tenant, give us a call here at Bluestone Sales and Lettings!