HMO or What?

HMO or What?

by Readers Question

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10:05 AM, 20th July 2018, About 6 years ago 16

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I have been offered a building split into 10 self contained units, no sharing. Planning is for one property and council tax is one property.

Question is ‘what is it’?

I’ve a couple of standard HMOs so know what that entails, but as this place has no sharing I’m at a bit of a loss, I’ve seen some paperwork where the current owner queried its status when HMOs were first introduced and shows that it didn’t qualify then. Has anyone got any further info on this?

If I thought I could get hold of a council officer at the Local council I would ask.

Many thanks


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Neil Patterson

10:15 AM, 20th July 2018, About 6 years ago

Hmmmm sounds like one freehold building split into self contained flats so I would be unsure it really has planning permission based on what you have said?

I would double check that first personally.


10:28 AM, 20th July 2018, About 6 years ago

There is no planning consent for anything other than a residential dwelling - this was how it was in the days prior to the HMO licensing and my two other HMOs were licensed during the first round so are not captured by the change in planning use.

Just wondering what I need to do to make these less worrying.


10:36 AM, 20th July 2018, About 6 years ago

I have 3 similar properties. One lease, 4 self contained flats, no shared facilities. My local council was of the opinion that they were HMOs but not licensable. Fire regs had to be met. HMO manager details clearly seen etc. And they are on the HMO register. But they are 4 different properties and 4 council tax bills (i.e. 12 flats in total)

I'm not sure how they will be viewed under the new changes coming in though.
My advice... speak to your local council. It's their regulations that you are going to have to follow anyway


11:05 AM, 20th July 2018, About 6 years ago

I am just starting to look at HMO's so this question was of great interest. My thinking is that they are not separate dwellings as they have planning permission only as one property, and one council tax bill. This would make is a house in multiple occupation. If they meet HMO requirements or not, of course, is another matter.

I look forward to seeing responses from those with more experience in this area.


11:23 AM, 20th July 2018, About 6 years ago

I have a strong suspicion that, as the council become aware of it, the council tax guy will come and visit and you will find the addresses entered separately for council tax.

If it transpires that the HMO regs are not met but it can be proved that the flats have been in existence for 10 years plus you can apply for a certificate of lawfulness which will allow you to continue as an HMO (bringing any shortfall up to HMO standards).

I would certainly speak to the council (the correct department might be called something like "Housing Standards" and run it by them before you decide to buy


11:26 AM, 20th July 2018, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Trevor Cooper at 20/07/2018 - 11:05
hmo has to have an element of sharing - this is my sticking point with it, I can call but there are no direct lines to council officers for a useful conversation now so would rather go in partly armed when I do manage to find someone. They are separate dwellings - is there a use class for a split house? if there is I can't find out (sui generis?) and would it need it after 20 or more years - probably a certificate for lawfulness - Clued. I've no doubt it will trigger separate council tax as I've had this in another place I run and it's a total pain.


1:24 AM, 21st July 2018, About 6 years ago

Best to ask your local authority to be sure. Im fairly confident it doesnt require a HMO licence. I've managed a block of 8 self contained flats in a converted building which was pub, all having there own separate, elec, gas bills - meters etc. A couple of tenants complained about the landlord not carrying out repairs which the private rented sector came out to investigate and never asked whether the landlord had a licence for HMO. All they asked for was a gas safe cert, EPC certificate and whether the land lord had an upto date communal electrical certificate. You must also ensure that the smoke detectors and heat censors are all interlinked with the communal areas and each flat, including an annual smoke alarm certificate and testing the smoke alarms monthly, tests signed by the tenants to cover your back. Feel free to ask any other questions.


1:40 AM, 21st July 2018, About 6 years ago

The key thing here is that they are self contained flats which i beleive normally does not come under HMO licensing but best to check with your local authority. Each flat must have fire resistant front doors lasting upto 30 minutes long I believe, also opening internal windows for escaping a fire. Best to invite your local authority around to check if they comply to there standards to protect yourself. They will be more than happy to offer advice.


5:40 AM, 21st July 2018, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Anne at 20/07/2018 - 11:23
Why would it be 10 years and not 4 years? I’m in exactly the same position but have been told by a lawyer that it is 4 years. What he also said was that I don’t need to apply for the Certificate of Lawfulness but only apply should I be served an enforcement notice. That way the flats are in existence for even longer and therefore there’s more evidence to put forward.


5:51 AM, 21st July 2018, About 6 years ago

I am in exactly the same position with 2 of my properties and have spoken to the respective councils anonymously as I want to get all my facts right before I get the council involved.

So here’s the info.

Although they don’t have any shared facilities (in the normal HMO way) the current legislation says that buildings converted into self contained flats ARE HMOs UNLESS they comply with 1991 Building Regulations or if they don’t, that they’re now brought up to those regulations.

My challenge is that I don’t want them to be HMOS because of my mortgage terms and also the licence fees for each one etc. However even after phoning over 20 surveyors and private building control people, I am struggling to find anyone who can help me to establish if they comply to the 1991 Building Regulations or not etc. So I’m currently stuck.

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