When does an HMO cease to be an HMO?

by Readers Question

12:23 PM, 3rd November 2014
About 4 years ago

When does an HMO cease to be an HMO?

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When does an HMO cease to be an HMO?

As I understand it, a HMO is a property that has more than one (unrelated) household within it, where part of the property is shared.

As such, this could even be a two bedroomed flat so long as the rooms are let separately (not the whole flat let as a joint tenancy). If this is the case, then when people move out of the property, such that there is just one resident left, then does the HMO cease to be a HMO until such time as someone else moves in to one of the rooms?

If the answer to the above is yes (it ceases to be a HMO), then should the Council Tax be reduced to take account of the single person discount?

Also, for the period when there is just one occupant, if the property ceases to be a HMO, then does the occupant become liable for paying the Council Tax instead of the landlord being liable?

Many thanks

RobertHMO



Comments

G Brown

16:27 PM, 3rd November 2014
About 4 years ago

I think that a HMO is more than 3 unrelated persons sharing a house, but this will depend on your local authority. Each has different rules and regs about the level of safety/facilities needed that varies according to the number of tenants.

If a licenced property goes below that threshold, then I'd guess it would still be viewed as a HMO because its the fabric of the building (fire regs, licensing requirements etc) that will remain, so I dont think it cease to be a HMO.

Interesting point though. Not sure if anyone has any experience of this

Colin Belton

21:14 PM, 3rd November 2014
About 4 years ago

I managed a number of HMO properties in Cumbria and though the HMO regulations are very complicated and arcane, this was our rule of thumb to get started.

If the landlords property being rented
1. Has 3 or more storeys,
2. If the tenants are unrelated

Then you best go to the council and talk about HMO licensing. We needed the property checked by the fire brigade.

Tessa has a good list here to do with HMO: http://goo.gl/u9Uk43

Robert Mellors

21:40 PM, 3rd November 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Colin Belton" at "03/11/2014 - 21:14":

I think this 3 storey 5 households criteria is in relation to a licensable HMO, but I believe any property (however small) that is let to separate households on separate tenancy/licence agreements and where some of the facilities are shared, is classed as a HMO (just not subject to the mandatory licencing requirements). BUT, i cannot find any authority on whether a property ceases to be a HMO if there is only one resident (and thus they are no longer sharing any facilities with anyone else).

Colin Belton

23:01 PM, 3rd November 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "03/11/2014 - 21:40":

I had a landlord who was living in an HMO with his tenants. When they tenants moved out, we did not regard it as an HMO, as it did not meet the criteria. Now I'm no authority but that is what happened practically on the ground. We found as a letting agency we were more informed than the two councils my agency dealt with, and spent time educating the people there about HMO.

Romain Garcin

8:25 AM, 4th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Robert,

For council tax purpose, an HMO is a property for which a tenant has a tenancy for only part of the property.

Thus, your example of a 2 bedroom flat let to 2 separate tenants is indeed an HMO, which means of course that the landlord is responsible for the council tax.

If one leaves the property is still an HMO because the remaining single tenant still has a tenancy for only part of the property.

However, I believe that the landlord can in any case apply for any discount or exemption, e.g. if there is only a single resident, or if all the residents are exempt.


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