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What are Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)?

Find out about what HMOs are, why they are needed and what this means for landlords.

A HMO is any house or flat that is shared by three or more people who do not live as a single household. Bedsit accommodation and houses or flats occupied by sharers are examples of HMOs. 

Certain converted buildings can also be classed as HMOs. This includes houses converted to self-contained flats where the conversion does not meet appropriate building standards.

HMOs provide much needed more affordable housing for many people. Unfortunately, they are also at risk of having the very worst living conditions. This is why additional legal requirements are in place.

All HMOs are subject to additional regulation and some types of HMO require the landlord to get a licence. HMOs in the borough are required to meet Islington's HMO Standards and to be managed in accordance with HMO Management Regulations.

HMO status can affect planning. Landlords are usually responsible for paying the Council Tax for HMOs.

Most HMO licensing rules are national. In Islington, we have evidence that there is a large number of poorly managed properties in the areas on the Holloway Road and Caledonian Road. Additional licensing has been put in place to ensure that these properties are managed to a good standard.

Legal action

If the landlord fails to get a licence they can be taken to court and, if convicted, heavily fined.

If a landlord is convicted the tenants can then apply for a Rent Repayment Order from the courts to reimburse them for some of the rent, if they apply within a fixed time.

The landlord cannot evict the tenants of an HMO that should be licensed but is not.

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