Does a cellar count towards a floor making an HMO?

Does a cellar count towards a floor making an HMO?

12:14 PM, 28th September 2015, About 6 years ago 17

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In a unlicensed HMO I understand that a cellar counts as a story. If however a lock was fitted to the cellar so no access for tenants, would it then be ruled out as a story?cellar

Making just the 2 story/5 tenant or less not requiring licence, or is there some law to saying otherwise. My apologies if this sounds obvious, but I’m just needing a sound opinion.

Many Thanks.

Carl



Comments

by Carl whitlam

11:39 AM, 4th October 2015, About 6 years ago

Hi all,some very good common sense replies,Many thanks.I spoke to the LA who were surprisingly friendly and helpful.

Their view if the basement/cellar is used in connection with the HMO I.E storage etc...they will class it as a story.However if its left unused and empty they wont class it.

by Yvonne Francis

12:18 PM, 4th October 2015, About 6 years ago

Hi Carl
I've noticed you say 'two or more households'. I was wondering if you let to separate individuals. If you do and this is your Councils rules then it's any house over two tenants, which is the case in Oxford where I let property. Each unrelated individual is considered a household.

Years ago long before the HMO License laws the Council tried unsuccessfully to enforce these standards on my properties. I do remember them suggesting I partition off the top floor which contained two habitable rooms to reduce the number of storeys.
However this may be out of date and recommend you talk with the your Council. It is best to comply.

by Joe Bloggs

20:04 PM, 4th October 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Carl " at "04/10/2015 - 11:39":

not surprisingly, their interpretation conflicts with the legislation to landlords detriment. dont trust the so called expertise of LA's.

by John Frances

20:33 PM, 4th October 2015, About 6 years ago

For the purposes of mandatory licensing under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004 you should refer to The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Descriptions) (England) Order 2006; Statutory Instrument 371, 2006.
I dont think their interpretation conflicts with the legislation, in fact I wouls suggest it confirms their stance on the matter, the above SI states that :-

(3)The following storeys shall be taken into account when calculating whether the HMO or any part of it comprises three storeys or more—

(a)any basement if—

(i)it is used wholly or partly as living accommodation;

(ii)it has been constructed, converted or adapted for use wholly or partly as living accommodation;

(iii)it is being used in connection with, and as an integral part of, the HMO; or

(iv)it is the only or principal entry into the HMO from the street.

I would suggest that they are considering the 'integral part' of the HMO. Unfortunately there is no clear definition of integral part, but if there are gas and/or electric meters in the basement that feeds the HMO........is that an integral part?

by Joe Bloggs

21:20 PM, 4th October 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Frances" at "04/10/2015 - 20:33":

it does conflict as all these requirements have to be met; compliance with one is not sufficient.

and there is nothing there that says a non-habitable basement ('cellar' is what the op states) is included if it is used solely for storage.

by Colin McNulty

13:07 PM, 5th October 2015, About 6 years ago

I think the original question has been answered, but just to add another possibly solution, if the cellar is not being used for anything (and doesn't have any meters in) why not take out the door and replace it with some plasterboard to block it up. Then there's no argument and it's easy to reverse if you need to in the future.

by Nick Pope

15:10 PM, 6th October 2015, About 6 years ago

In my area (Reading) a lock on the door would not suffice. In their guidance regarding removal of a storey from use :

".....you will need to show the Council that the third storey has been put beyond use, for example by creating a new partition wall or removing the access stairs to completely stop access. However, this work must be done in such a way that will not create additional hazards within the property, and any new construction will need to offer a minimum degree of fire resistance.

Please note that if gas or electricity meters, or water tanks or other services to which access must be maintained are located in the third storey, then blocking off access completely will not be acceptable."

http://beta.reading.gov.uk/media/1400/Removing-A-Storey-Factsheet/pdf/Removing-A-Storey-Factsheet.pdf

However if the property is let to less than 5 occupants than mandatory licensing would not apply.


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