Is my Guest House becoming an HMO?

by Readers Question

23:55 PM, 30th January 2020
About 9 months ago

Is my Guest House becoming an HMO?

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Is my Guest House becoming an HMO?

Last year I purchased a guest house 9 bedrooms.  I live in a separate accommodation within the building offering the usual cleaning and sheets continental breakfast etc..I was given the go ahead to continue as a B@B by the county borough council and we had a mix of guests at first.

However, when we opened the local county borough council were short of short term local accommodation and the homeless prevention team quickly took my capacity. I do not want this to turn into an HMO. I wish to continue as a B&B.

I got a bit panicky as I did not want to end up with tenants I would not be able to ask to leave so I asked by email for clarity and they replied this will not happen “it is a nightly rate short term paid by the council none residential guests licensee status they do not pay rent or housing benefit they are not tenants and do not live there it is purely temporary they are simply waiting to be rehoused and will never become tenants or permanent.”

They have kept some guests for longer periods without telling me outside of the guide lines they have to follow more than I expected which they say they can do, but they still state I am covered from HMO regulations as it is them who is the client.

What I mean is their rules they must use hotel B@B or Guest House conforming to gas certificate electrical checks, mains smoke detectors emergency lighting glow safety signage etc fire doors all I have and they have checked my documents.

While my guests are regarded as homeless I do not provide a home for homeless but a stepping stone to a proper place for them to live provided by the council at a later point. They have implied I am doing everything correctly and happy. It is not therefore common practice to use HMOs say sharing in a residential house to accommodate hence why I presume they use B@Bs.

It is very confusing. I do not want to become an HMO and I am happy with C1. So my question is if they the Council state it won’t become a HMO am I covered by the e mails?

Some guidance on this would be appreciated.

Colin


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Comments

Luke P

11:01 AM, 31st January 2020
About 9 months ago

A landlord friend wants to turn some of his HMOs into serviced accommodation (presumably for tax and/or licence-avoiding purposes) and when chatting to a council officer was told they would not stand up to scrutiny if he were in fact letting this new serviced accommodation to people using it as their primary main/sole residence (which, therein, may lie your answer). Also, understandable.

However, he then said to the council officer, "But the council are, knowingly, putting otherwise homeless people *into* serviced accommodation!"

The council officer said he'd need specific examples to investigate...although I suspect 'pigeon-hole thinking' would dictate the mere presence of people whose sole/primary residence it is does in fact alter the status of the building and because the council (or indeed anyone else) 'put' these persons into the property is completely immaterial.

Michael Barnes

13:07 PM, 31st January 2020
About 9 months ago

You probably need proper legal advice.

Puzzler

9:45 AM, 1st February 2020
About 9 months ago

I once looked into this and I think the clue is in the word "serviced". In a HMO you would not provide food and housekeeping but in a guest house you do.


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