Live in landlord – HMO requirements?

Live in landlord – HMO requirements?

11:24 AM, 1st June 2021, About 2 years ago 9

Text Size

Hi everyone. I live in my house in Wales and currently have two lodgers sharing my house and am thinking of taking a third, which would make a small HMO.

I’ve checked with my local authorities and I don’t need an HMO licence, but does anyone know what my legal obligations are aside from having yearly gas services and five-yearly electrical checks?

As far as I can tell as I live in the house it’s just to make sure the house is well maintained, but I’d like to be sure!

Many thanks


Share This Article


Chris Bradley

9:29 AM, 2nd June 2021, About 2 years ago

Surely if you already rent to two people plus yourself - it makes it by definition already a HMO. 3 unrelated people in same house.

Yvonne Francis

10:50 AM, 2nd June 2021, About 2 years ago

I don't think you are right. I thought if you own or on a secure or fixed term tenancy which allows subletting, and live in the house as your main residence you can have two lodgers. Having a third lodger would make a HMO. Danny is best advised by his own Council as Councils differ.

Chris Bradley

9:47 AM, 5th June 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Bradley at 02/06/2021 - 09:29
Different councils have different licencing requirements. Just because a house is a HMO doesn't mean it necessarily needs a licence

Michael Mathews

16:42 PM, 5th June 2021, About 2 years ago

A strict interpretation of the law would mean that you do need an HMO Licence, and even if you did not, a strict interpretation of the law means (even for just 1 lodger) that you still have to meet ALL the HMO standards. The question is whether the Council would bother enforcing any of this in such a situation. They have a legal duty to do so, but they may choose not to do so any way. While you have just 2 lodgers (and everyone here is assuming they are unrelated people - ie: separate "households") you can ask the Council still to inspect your HMO and confirm it meets the standards - even if they would not spend the money issuing you with an HMO licence because they did not have to (it costs them money and time). They may agree to do such an inspection - or refuse (because they don't want to spend money on this) and then just remind you that even with an HMO where you do not need an HMO licence, you must still meet ALL HMO standards.
Or they may limit their input to telephone advice that you must meet all HMO standards regardless of whether you need an HMO licence or not.

The relevant standards would include HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating system (covering 29 problem areas (fire safety, damp, cold, excess warm, sound, space etc), LACORS (fire safety) and their HMO Policy. The Council tend to be most concerned about Fire Safety (fire doors, fire door frames, fire strips, fire alarms (mains fed, battery backed up, interconnected (if one goes off, all go off in hallways and all at risk rooms (living rooms, kitchens... - not nec. bedrooms))), gas/electric certs, provision of enough bathroom/kitchen etc facilities, space (room size) as the other factors in HHSRS etc have a significantly less serious impact on lodgers/tenants wellbeing.

Councils can automatically find out your home is an HMO when lodgers/tenants apply for housing benefits... (within a UC claim...). You may find yourself getting an automatic letter from the Council requiring you to get an HMO licence as a result.

Making sure it's a well maintained home is not enough - most homes do not have fire doors/frames/strips or fire alarms (interconnected, mains fed, battery backed up (in corridors and at risk rooms (living room, kitchen) - so most "well maintained homes" would not meet the higher standards necessary for an HMO.

The principal for requiring higher standards for rented out properties is that tenants/lodgers are more vulnerable than owner occupiers.
If an owner-occupier sees a lose wire they are more likely to fix it, than a tenant who is more likely to turn a blind eye and expect a landlord to fix it, even if the landlord has no way of knowing about the problem because the tenant does not report it to them).

The principal for requiring yet higher standards for HMO's is that you are trying to pack more sardines in a tin of a finite size.

You are (to an extent) allowed to kill (put at risk) yourself in your own owner/occupied house - you are not allowed to kill (put at risk) tenants

Even if it is your own home, you still have tenants/lodgers and are still packing them in quite tightly. So the need for HMO standards still exist - despite being your home.

A "nice, comfy, well maintained" home, is not necessarily a safe home for HMO purposes.

Most "nice, comfy, well maintained" homes don't have fire doors/frames/strip, HMO standard fire alarms, enough bathroom/kitchen capacity for so many people, large enough rooms etc

Strictly, you should meet all standards, even if you have just 1 lodger and need no HMO Licence. Council's may not enforce this with just 1 lodger, but they will get increasingly hotter on the topic the more you grow your HMO, so you should seek to comply better and better as you get bigger and bigger, because the risks to tenants/lodgers increasing as the HMO gets bigger and bigger.

Jay James

23:56 PM, 6th June 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Mathews at 05/06/2021 - 16:42"Strictly, you should meet all standards, even if you have just 1 lodger and need no HMO Licence". This is not correct as per, 1 lodger and 1 live in landlord is not a HMO.
Further, taking this link literally at its' word, the head poster above is not in a HMO. This contradicts what I previously thought, which is three or more residents (as opposed to tenants) in two or more households makes the proerty a HMO.
Of course, meeting standards not legally required is a good idea.

Note to all, the definition of a HMO is set out in (national) law and the definiion of a licensable HMO is set out by each (local) district/city council.

Jay James

0:08 AM, 7th June 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jay James at 06/06/2021 - 23:56
"This is not correct..." + 'under HMO law'.

Michael Mathews

16:31 PM, 7th June 2021, About 2 years ago

There are many definitions of an HMO - the one Jay refers to is the definition of an HMO that needs an HMO Licence.

Jay James

1:43 AM, 10th June 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Mathews at 07/06/2021 - 16:31
That is not correct and is evident from reading my comment

Jay James

1:46 AM, 10th June 2021, About 2 years ago

The only definition of a HMO that matters is the one legal definition.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now