Is this an HMO?

Is this an HMO?

10:54 AM, 20th February 2019, About 3 years ago 43

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I would appreciate your thoughts on whether the following will constitute an HMO:

My husband and I would like to buy a flat and rent out 2 of the rooms to 2 separate people. We would use a third room for ourselves from time to time when we are visiting London.

We would share the kitchen but may have an en-suite.

As we would still only have 2 tenants then there is no HMO as we would only be visiting the flat?

This would not be our principle private residence so we cannot have the 2 occupants as lodgers.

Thanks for your assistance.


Editors Note:

From .Gov >>

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If you let your property to several tenants who are not members of the same family, it may be a ‘House in Multiple Occupation’ (HMO).

Your property is an HMO if both of the following apply:

  • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than one household
  • toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared

A household consists of either a single person or members of the same family who live together. It includes people who are married or living together and people in same-sex relationships.


An HMO must have a licence if it is occupied by 5 or more people. A council can also include other types of HMOs for licensing.

Find out if you need an HMO licence from your council.


Old Mrs Landlord

8:02 AM, 21st September 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mags at 20/09/2019 - 18:44Despite what Mike says above, my understanding is that if you are in a steady partner relationship this is interpreted in the same way as if you are married and you count as a family, which would bring you and your friend below the magic three separate people which sometimes constitutes an HMO. Or, p rovided your joint incomes are sufficient to cover the rent for a two-bedroom place you should be able to take out a joint tenancy and your friend could then live with you as a lodger and contribute to the rent. You may find a self-managing landlord is more sympathetic to your circumstances or you may need to simply apply to a lettings agency as a couple, making no mention of your friend. I recommend you first check with a landlords' association such as the NLA or RLA (currently in the process of merging) that my understanding of the regulations regarding unmarried couples is correct but I am not an HMo landlord and I expect someone who has a superior knowledge of this aspect will post a reply here to confirm it in any case. I hope you find a suitable home soon.


11:08 AM, 23rd September 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 20/09/2019 - 22:39
Ha thanks Mike for responding, it did make me laugh, I had begrudgingly thought about doing that the catch here is that Disability Housing Benefit can be paid direct to the individual, my friend, but he needs a tenancy agreement, do his name needs to be on the tenancy agreement. The alternative is to sub let and create my own agreement, but I am then pushing it legally. Maybe I just say it's me and my friend who I care for. My wage does cover the rent so I could leave my partner out of the conversation with the landlord. It's so annoying as we're quiet good tenants, who always pay on time and just want somewhere to live, but it's like we're lepars or something....might have to take a version of your advice. Thanks again.


11:25 AM, 23rd September 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 21/09/2019 - 08:02
Thanks for taking time to comment, so I will check the legal status as at 21yrs we may be ok, I did say this to an estate agents but they have since ghosted me and completely stopped contact. Which is annoying as I put in an offer and they also have other properties which would suit us. It is frustrating when you're trying to do the right thing and be upfront and you can show you're a good tenant, but they won't even give you the chance to prove this as there's such a stigma attached to people on disability, despite the fact I've said I'll be his guarantor as my wage covers it, and he can show decades of rent payments without gap. Hopefully if I can confirm the legal part on the common law wife question maybe I can then teach the estate agents. I am looking privately too, looking at everything to be honest. The requirement for our friend to be on the tenancy agreement is the sticky part, although I may just bite the bullet and put him on a sub agreement and hope that as we will be good tenants if it ever comes up we won't have caused any issues for it to be a problem, and if the common law wife makes it non-HMO then that also takes the risk away from the landlord, only thing is it's puts it in me, which if I told you my job wouldn't look good, but maybe it's the only way forward. If people are interested I will update what the outcome is. Thanks again both!


14:41 PM, 23rd September 2019, About 3 years ago

I normally do not lie, and often found myself in very sticky situation for speaking the truth, it once cost me a grand for speaking the truth, so the wise men always said speak wisely, not necessarily truthfully, now a days, under the data protection, if you accidentally revealed someone's data, expect a mega million pound fine, you may not only have to sell your belongings and estate, but your ownself too.

Indeed if you lived so long with a partner, you need not be married as you live with a partner, it is recognised as common law relationship, as for your friend, or cousin, and remember when it comes to anyone asking how is a person related to you as a cousin, through paternal or maternal path, you always choose maternal, because that way the surnames do not have to match the family name. So you could say he is your mothers sister's son, and you are one family unit, you could then give hima tenancy agreement as though you are the landlord! Pretend that you are!


21:41 PM, 23rd September 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 23/09/2019 - 14:41Mike I've had a tough few weeks partner in hospital, this situation to name but two of the things taking up my energy/worry, but you have made me laugh ( in a good 'with you' kind of way). After another day of being ignored and various bodies not being able to give me a straight answer ( where have they gone these days)? I've completely came round to your way of thinking and can only say, Thank you!!! Here's to good people having to lie to do good deeds (that's what I'm going to tell myself anyway)! You sound like the kind of landlord we all wish we had!!!

Old Mrs Landlord

9:25 AM, 24th September 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mags at 23/09/2019 - 11:25
Section 258(3)a of the Housing Act 2004 defines you as members of the same family if you live together as husband and wife. (Also applies to co-habiting same sex couples.) This is legislation regarding what constitutes an HMO so would certainly appear to rule out that designation for your household. In your position I would challenge the agencies who have told you that you and your friend would be classed as an HMO, quoting that legislation to them.


10:13 AM, 24th September 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 24/09/2019 - 09:25
That's really helpful thankyou for that. It allows me to be about more strong when addressing these agents, but I've found that some aren't even giving that as the reason they'll just not call back once we say three. Nice to know that it will be legal though, makes it less of a worry. Think I'll say husband and wife and cousin though, (he's actually more like our little brother anyway) and clarify the marriage part only if asked. Again thanks I've had so many conflicting answers. Having the exact regulation allows me to know exactly where I stand, it's a shame this HMO causes so many issues though for both tenant and landlord, I understand why it's in place, and improving regulation around this sector is important but I have found this time round has been a completely different experience to when I last moved ( mind you that was 14yrs ago), it's like a lot of agents have had it drummed into them to avoid anything that may even appear to be HMO. Anyway have a good day here's to not being branded HMO I have enough labels that seem to repel as it is :0), carer, dog owner, associated with a DSS person, unmarried... I'll leave the rest of the list out that's only for when my 'husband' proves me wrong on something ....heha

Old Mrs Landlord

14:54 PM, 24th September 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mags at 24/09/2019 - 10:13
Thank Google.

Old Mrs Landlord

6:48 AM, 25th September 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mags at 24/09/2019 - 10:13
It has been pointed out to me that, regardless of your marital status, your tenant group might still be classified as an HMO since the fact that your disabled friend is unrelated to either of you would mean that, as far as the terms of the HMO regulations are concerned, you are three persons forming more than one household. By focusing on your status as an unmarried co-habitee, which you said was the reason letting agents had given you for classifying your tenant group as an HMO, I may have given you a misleading reply, and I do apologise for that. As I told you initially, I am not an HMO landlord so have not studied the complex and still-evolving HMO regulations in any detail. I hope you are able to find suitable accommodation soon, one way or another, without having to resort to subterfuge.


18:50 PM, 25th September 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 25/09/2019 - 06:48
Don't worry I appreciate the fact you took the time, I too have gone through the same back and forth. I'll definitely update once I get a new place might be a few weeks at this rate, but here's hoping I learn / find a way and can pass on the knowledge.

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