HMO in private residence?

HMO in private residence?

15:26 PM, 15th March 2021, About 6 months ago 22

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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.



by Richard Oakman

22:41 PM, 21st March 2021, About 6 months ago

I have let two rooms in my North East London home since 1995; I added a loft extension in 2016 so let out that room also until I realised that that would need me to apply for an Additional Licence with my local authority. The lodger I chose to leave complained to the Authority and I had a visit from an enforcement officer. They confirmed that I was ok with two lodgers and myself but to have more (unless one were a relative), I would need a Licence and to put in door closers etc etc, which they agreed would change the character of my home. Thus, I kept to two and one even had his parents stay in the spare room for a weekend! For me, with quite a large house with two sitting rooms, large conservatory and four bathrooms, letting to lodgers has given me good company with only the occasional disorganised payer. Many past lodgers are now good friends. The extra income, slightly below the market rent, boosts the pension and ensures I keep the place in good order for us all. My accountant does use the Rent a Room allowance and I pay tax on the extra income (my expenses don't warrant another route). My advice is reliable long term lodgers seem to work well [and they often take the lead in choosing the second one]. Meals are not provided but we have a House meal once in a while. Hoping these comments are helpful.

by David

12:03 PM, 22nd March 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Oakman at 21/03/2021 - 22:41
Richard, your comments are very heartening, but I fear an increasingly rare example of a positive lodger story. As landlords have gradually tightened up on the people they will accept for regular tenancies, I believe an underclass has emerged of those that would never pass referencing or who have multiple CCJs or who have burned all their bridges elsewhere or who have mental health or behavioural issues. From what I've read, many of these people have gravitated toward renting a room in someone's home in the hope that the landlord won't do so many checks. Sometimes this has worked out well, giving them a second chance. Other times it has not and people have been left vulnerable in their own home. With the lack of sufficient social housing, its hard to know what the answer is for these people, but my guess is that over time and as landlords become more aware, even this option will dry-up for them.

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