An HMO is a ‘house in multiple occupation’, in which there are multiple residences found under one roof.
Tenants in these individual residences share common areas, such as stairwells, landings, kitchens, toilets, bathrooms or communal living space. In accordance with the Housing Act 2004, a property is deemed an HMO if there are three or more people who are unrelated living in the property as a main residence. Examples include student halls of residence, bedsits, privately shared houses and hostels. If you are a landlord of an HMO, you will have a number of legal responsibilities, including:
- Registering with the local authority and obtaining a valid HMO licence.
- Keeping all fire escape routes clear and accessible, and ensuring all alarms and extinguishers are working.
- Carrying out an inspection of all electrical equipment every five years, and obtaining a copy of the report.
- Supplying new tenants with a copy of the electrical safety record and the annual gas safety certificate within seven days of occupancy.
- Ensuring all tenants have a copy of the landlord or property manager’s contact details, including name, address and telephone number.
Emergency call-out details should also be provided. Failure to obtain this licence and operating an HMO without one can potentially result fines and in prosecution by the local council. If you obtain a licence but fail to adhere to the conditions outlined within it, you could be fined up to £5,000. If you allow a higher number of occupants than that which is permitted by the licence, you can face a fine of up to £20,000. Operating an HMO without a licence is a criminal offence in Scotland, carrying a maximum fine of £50,000.
If you have any questions about HMO regulations or any letting matters, you can contact a member of our team today on 01631 569466.