HMO in private residence?

by Readers Question

15:26 PM, 15th March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

HMO in private residence?

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HMO in private residence?

I’m a little confused about the legal side of HMO at your own home or private residence. My home is a bungalow. In early 2016 I completed a loft conversion which gave me two bedrooms(one en-suite) a bathroom and a small box room upstairs. The intention was for my partner’s son and family to live with us. It didn’t materialise.

Early 2017 I started to take in foreign students/teachers to utilise the double room/bathroom upstairs. This usually ran from March to August. The room was left vacant then until the following year. In August 2019 I started Airbnb for the times of no students. I have also had lodgers stay, on and off, from before the loft conversion.

No students last year and some limited Airbnb because of Covid-19. I do have two lodgers currently staying, not related, both in downstairs bedrooms, one en-suite other shares a bathroom. One is long-standing the other has been here just over a year. I also live in the bungalow.

Upstairs is totally vacant.

I have heard I should not even have 2 lodgers, Airbnb could also be considered as ‘lodgers’ and even students!(although not to sure if the students will ever start again). I have tried to look at various sites, but not finding anything clear.

Does anyone have any advice or suggestions? How easy is it to get HMO licence at your home, if needed? Home is W Sussex.

There is a hard-wired fire alarm upstairs, but no fire doors. I welcome your replies.

Richard

Comments

MargaretM

9:38 AM, 16th March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

I think you would come under the HMRC 'Rent a Room' scheme rather than HMO which I believe is for a place where an owner doe snot live. You are akin to a lodging house in old terms.

silversurfer2017

9:44 AM, 16th March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

IMHO forget HMO. Avoid getting involved with any council or you will be hassled and have to pay fees and maybe if you don't jump through all the hoops, even have to pay fines.
Airbnb is perhaps your best bet, will give you the highest income, but not at the moment. It puts you in control as to how often you have bookings. You can easily block out dates on your calendar if you want to go away on holiday yourself for a few weeks. The Covid regulations are hopefully being relaxed on 12 April but only for properties which are self contained. This means not just separate facilities in the property but the entrance door has to be just for access to that property and not shared with any one else. You will have to wait until 17 May for the next relaxation stage.

MargaretM

9:50 AM, 16th March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

Look here about Rent a Room https://www.gov.uk/rent-room-in-your-home

silversurfer2017

10:11 AM, 16th March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

The original poster mentions 2 rooms . I don't think the Rent a Room scheme covers two rooms with 2 different lodgers. The nightly rate per room on Airbnb will be at least double, probably treble the nightly rate achievable on rent a room, even if it is legally possible for two separate lodgers, You never have the choice of having the property entirely to yourself. Will you be happy going away and leaving your lodgers there by themselves? You might gather from my posting that I do let out a property on Airbnb and have done so for about 3 years.

silversurfer2017

10:21 AM, 16th March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

With rent a room you have a lodger. You have to let them use your kitchen to prepare meals unless you make the bedroom more of a self contained bed-sit with cooking facilities . You have to let your lodger entertain visitors at least on an ocoasinal basis. With Airbnb you do not have to provide cooking facilities. Just a kettle, mugs, spoons, tea and coffee just like you would expect in a hotel room.

MargaretM

10:22 AM, 16th March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by at 16/03/2021 - 10:11
There does not appear to be any limit on the number of rooms you can let out under the Rent a Room scheme. The tax free allowance for the is £7,500 per year per room. Worth considering depending on the amount charged and costs involved.

Paul Shears

10:30 AM, 16th March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by MargaretM at 16/03/2021 - 10:22
I had got the idea that you could only rent out one room. Am I incorrect?

MargaretM

10:31 AM, 16th March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Shears at 16/03/2021 - 10:30
No that's not what it says on the HMRC link.

silversurfer2017

11:33 AM, 16th March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by MargaretM at 16/03/2021 - 10:31
But it it just the one lodger not two lodgers unless they are a couple. You can let the one lodger or couple have the use of two rooms, maybe using the other bedroom as a separate lounge. You can't go down the multiple lodger route that's why I suggested the Airbnb option, which also means you don't have to provided cooking facilities. Most Airbnb booking are for 7 days or less. With Rent a Room you are really providing a home for someone for several months duration. They will not expect to watch TV all the time sitting on their bed, they will want a couple of armchairs, (one for a visitor). They will want to cook at least one meal per day, maybe two if they like to start the day with a full English. With only one kitchen are you going to have 1st and 2nd sittings or be sociable and eat with your lodger? I don't think you have ever done Rent a Room yourself or you would realise the potential problems.

MargaretM

11:48 AM, 16th March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by at 16/03/2021 - 11:33
I have in fact and he was a lodger because I provided meals. He was at work all day so I only provided breakfast and evening meal if he required it.

The original poster does not say what the arrangements are for eating etc. He just refers to bathroom facilities.

The key point here is does he qualify to be classed as an HMO? and it doesn't seem likely since he lives there himself. But I guess he will only know if he asks a direct question relating to the exact circumstances that pertain to his arrangements. If he is an HMO he will need to comply with various requirements relating to safety etc. which may be onerous and inappropriate in his accommodation.
AirBnB is fine if you don't mind a succession of different people. As I understand it you are not meant to have people long term on this arrangement especially in the London area.
However perhaps we have given enough food for thought and places to look for guidance so that the poster can make up his own mind as to how he would like to be classed.

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