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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    Kitchenette in each room - HMO/Bedsit?

    Hello,

    I am a bit new to this complicated world of HMOs ... and I was hoping I would be able to find some other old forum related to this but my 'kitchennete' key word search does not bring much hence I am raising it as a new thread to ask the several related questions here:-

    1. Having a small kitchenette (4 hobs) in each room + en quite - does it still make it as a HMO or are they individual bedsits (self contained unit?) hence not an HMO? Property will have at least 6 such rooms and will be on 3 floors. No communical kitchen only shared washing machines/dryers etc.

    2. Since the council will charge separate council tax for each of these then logically speaking it is recognising it is not a HMO so even though building regs (fire/safety etc.) would still apply - would they still expect you to obrain a HMO license (again 6+ rooms on 3 storeys).

    3. Some people put freestanding/temporary kitchennete in each room after the council inspection to avoid Council tax - I would have this is illegal?

    Question is for an non Article 4 area.

    Thanks.

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    Unless you're in Scotland the Valuation Office are responsible for any banding (not the local authority)

    A self-contained unit may well be banded individually, it would be down to the Valuation Office (VOA) as to whether they determined it was sufficient to disaggregate (split) the initial property. You would need to check with them regarding that. Trying to hide any relevant evidence is unlikely to lead to major problems for Council Tax other than to perhaps delay a backdated banding ammendment but whether or not it would cause trouble with the licence aspect I don't know.

    A single dwelling (even if only little more than a room) can still be a Council Tax HMO - it depends on the tenancy / occupany agreement.

    Craig / lgfa92

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    http://www.LGFA92.co.uk council tax consultants.
    Posting as @CouncilTaxGuy on Twitter
    Why not look at our blog at http://www.lgfa92.co.uk/blog


    Any posts are my own opinion on legislation and may vary from your local authorities !

    By putting bathroom and cooking facilities within each letting room, you will be creating studio flats which need planning permission for change of use. If you carry out the conversion without obtaining a building regulations completion certificate and then let out the units, you risk creating a 'section 257 HMO'. 

    I would strongly advise you to seek professional advice before making any such changes.

    Regards

    Richard


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    Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH

    Managing Director

    London Property Licensing

    Email: Richard@londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    This information is intended as general advice and guidance. It is not legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. No liability can be accepted for any reliance on the information published in this response. You may wish to obtain independent legal advice.

    Thanks for your reply Richard.


    By what I am reading ... this will be more than likely classed as a S257 HMO. However, you wrote that 'you risk creating a 'section 257 HMO'' - could you please elaborate on the risk part of of it in particular in comparison to the normal C4 HMO let's say?


    Thanks,

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    Planning use class C4 covers smaller HMOs shared by 3 to 6 people.

    A 'section 257 HMO' is not a planning term. It is a type of HMO as defined under the Housing Act 2004. The abridged definition - it is a property converted into self contained flats, less than two thirds of which are owner occupied and where the conversion does not comply with the relevant building regulations.

    As such, the two things are very different.

    Regards

    Richard

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    Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH

    Managing Director

    London Property Licensing

    Email: Richard@londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    This information is intended as general advice and guidance. It is not legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. No liability can be accepted for any reliance on the information published in this response. You may wish to obtain independent legal advice.

    Thanks Richard again for taking time to reply.

    I understand C4 and S257 HMOs are different. I am just curious why would you class an S257 HMO riskier than let's say a C4 HMO? I know it would be bigger and a bit more complex but at the same time will have higher rewards but why 'risky' as per your last post - is what I am still trying to get if possible please?


    Thanks.

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    I think you have misunderstood my first post. I said you '...risk creating...' i.e. you may create a section 257 HMO if you were to follow your proposal. Whether or not it is a section 257 HMO depends on all the criteria I have outlined. I haven't said it 'is riskier'.

    Having said that, I would never recommend converting a property into self contained flats without ensuring the conversion fully complies with building regs and you obtain a completion certificate.

    For landlords and developers who are not fully conversant with HMO rules and regulations, I would recommend seeking professional advice before you start any new development. A few hours advice and support could help to ensure the project runs smoothly and avoid costly errors further down the line.

    Regards

    Richard

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    Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH

    Managing Director

    London Property Licensing

    Email: Richard@londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    This information is intended as general advice and guidance. It is not legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. No liability can be accepted for any reliance on the information published in this response. You may wish to obtain independent legal advice.

    Thanks Richard.

    It seems I missed your post just seen this now. Thanks for clarifying.

    I would obviously consult my planning architect who has experience with HMOs who should be able to help me with it.

    Thanks again.

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    You need planning permission otherwise a planning enforcement notice will be issued, what you have described is not an HMO. The penalties can be severe for not complying including being charged in a criminal court for Proceeds of Crime. If I were you I would have a couple of rooms sharing a kitchen and bathroom. The self contained units would then be assessed for Council Tax separately.

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    With having a bathroom and cooking facilities all in one room, it will be classed as a "self contained" unit and require planning permission.  To get the planning permission approved will need to satisfy parking standards, ie. one parking space per self contained unit.

    A kitchenette can be installed with just a microwave/oven, together with bathroom facilities and it not be classified as "self contained" because it has no hob, there also has to be a shared kitchen elsewhere within the house.

    If a portable electric hob where brought into the room then this would make it a "self contained" unit which would require planning permission and would achieve the one bedroom rate.

    The placement of the portable electric-hob i.e. within the room or outside of the room, determines whether its a self-contained unit or not.

    Most tenants use the communal kitchen for cooking as it does not use their electric, but its nice for them to have facilities in their own room to make tea and sandwiches etc, wash the dishes.

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    Thanks Arran for a very specific reply.

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