Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
Within Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue the term “residential” refers to any premises that provide sleeping accommodation, that is not a private dwelling or a certified hotel or Boarding house.
What is an HMO?
HMO stands for House in Multiple Occupation. A simplified definition is a building or part of building (flat) which is:
- Occupied by more than one household.
- At least one of the households shares or lacks access to a basic amenity such as a toilet; personal washing facilities; or cooking facilities.
- the households occupy the building as their main residence
This includes bedsits, houses partly converted into self-contained flats, hostels, accommodation above shops and shared houses and flats.
Who is responsible?
The Housing Act 2004 places a duty on local authorities to licence houses in multiple occupation which fall into certain categories.
The act requires landlords of many Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to apply for licences. The HMOs that need to be licensed are those with:
- three storeys or more, and
- occupied by five people or more, in
- two or more “households”
- Landlords need to apply to their local district council Housing officer for the licence.
Larger HMOs, such as bedsits and shared houses, often have poorer physical and management standards than other privately rented properties.
Licensing is intended to make sure that:
- landlords of HMOs are fit and proper people, or employ managers who are
- each HMO is suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence
- the standard of management of the HMO is adequate
- high risk HMOs can be identified and targeted for improvement.
Furthermore, in cases where the Fire and Rescue Service is of the opinion that the use of an HMO involves or will involve a risk to its occupants so serious that use of the premises ought to be prohibited or restricted, the Fire and Rescue Service may serve on the responsible person a notice prohibiting or restricting the use of the building.