Does this avoid being an HMO?

Does this avoid being an HMO?

8:39 AM, 26th May 2022, About 2 years ago 9

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I own a 3 bed flat, in my name, not a Ltd company. When the current tenancy ends I am thinking of letting two rooms out to individuals and retaining the third as a study/bedsit for myself. I pay council tax on my own family house where I reside most of the time.

Does this avoid the rented property then falling under an HMO classification?

Presumably, I don’t go on the electoral roll or council tax register at the property and If the two occupants are students, their council tax exemption won’t be affected.

I would put the utilities in my name and just charge an all-inclusive rent.

Many thanks


Editor’s Note:

Houses in multiple occupation >>

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


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Neil Patterson

8:43 AM, 26th May 2022, About 2 years ago

Hi Matt,

Firstly be very careful to understand your individual council's rules for registering as an HMO. They are often different to the official definition.

From what you have described there is no way you could prove this was your main residence and hence it was a lodger agreement.

Remember if it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck and looks like a duck it will be considered a duck.

Chris Clare

11:28 AM, 26th May 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 26/05/2022 - 08:43
And remember councils like nothing more than proving things are ducks! Especially if it is against a landlord.

Des Taylor & Phil Turtle, Landlord Licensing & Defence

11:42 AM, 26th May 2022, About 2 years ago

Hello Matt

You'll be pleased to know that TWO unrelated persons is not an HMO. It will only need licensing if SELECTIVE licensing is active in that Council Ward.

HOWEVER - you need to be extremely careful hat they do not move a third person in because then it will instantly become an HMO and you will be at risk if it does not comply with the HMO Management Regulations 2006 as amended and the council's HMO Amenity standards.

If you use the third room for yourself HEY-PRESTO the council will claim it as an HMO and whilst we may be able to make a case against that for you, you're into a lot of trouble and cost so AVOID! Just lock the room and use it as landlords store only.

Robert M

12:04 PM, 26th May 2022, About 2 years ago

I think some flats are also classed as HMO's, something about if they were converted after a certain date and not done in accordance with certain regulations. Sorry to be so vague, but it is best to check out the actual legislation where the HMO definitions are stated and then see if that applies to your property.


12:17 PM, 26th May 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 26/05/2022 - 12:04
Robert, you are referring to a S257 HMO, which councils like to include in selective and additional licencing.
Westminster did this, then removed the requirement just after they introduced additional licencing last year.


13:21 PM, 26th May 2022, About 2 years ago

If you occupy or use part of the property for personal use, you would not be exempt from council tax just because the other occupants are students. The student council tax exemption applies to them, not you.

MM Properties

13:56 PM, 26th May 2022, About 2 years ago

Thanks all. I thought that the owner of the property did not count towards the numbers? Hence there would be only 3 unrelated persons. Unless I were habitually spending the night there I am not sure how I would be liable to council tax either as the preoperty is occupied.


16:52 PM, 26th May 2022, About 2 years ago

When you say "retaining the third bedroom as a study/bedsit", does that meaning you'll be living there? The concession for two lodgers not making the property an HMO is for owner occupiers. Retaining a room for occasional use probably won't qualify.

MM Properties

17:13 PM, 26th May 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by David at 26/05/2022 - 16:52
I’m not intending to live there. However subsection 6.1 (a) only refers to occupiers who have an interest in the freehold.

It depends on definition of occupier

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