Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
This is a property rented out by at least three people who are not from one ‘household’ (eg a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. It’s sometimes called a ‘house share’.
In Hounslow, with very few exceptions, every house in multiple occupation (HMO) must have a licence.
Nationally any property of three of more stories occupied by five or more unrelated people would need a HMO licence. However, in London Borough of Hounslow we operate an additional scheme which extends the statutory scheme to include;
- two or more storey properties occupied by four or more unrelated people, and
- properties converted into flats that do not comply with the 1991 or latest Building Regulations.
If you own or manage an HMO you should apply to us for a licence.
It is a criminal offence to operate an HMO without a licence, and if convicted you could be liable to an unlimited fine. In addition, you may have to repay rent to your tenants and the council will reclaim Housing Benefit payments made to unlicenced HMOs.
If you are prosecuted it will probably be difficult for you to get a property licence in the future.
If a property should be licenced but isn’t, the landlord cannot serve notice to quit on a tenant until the licence has been obtained.
The Council also has powers to take control of a property.
Important changes to the law
From 1 October 2018, the legislation regarding the mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) will change
Any HMO that is occupied by five or more persons who form two or more separate households, and who share basic amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet, will require a license. See Section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 for the definitions of HMOs.
If you have a dwelling, you must apply for a license as soon as possible.