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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    New to HMO ... Well, thrown in to it!

    Recently I have been through the Additional HMO licence application process.  I never intended or even thought of going into the HMO market.

    Due the rules created by the council I had to(well (forced to)) apply for it .

    My property is

    4 stories + Loft bedroom

    3 self contained flat + shop(Shop is not part of the HMO rules)

    2 flats are on 125(since 2000) lease

    1 flat is freehold(mine)

    2 of the flats(inc mine) are let.

    Mine is on AST, I assume top flat is also on AST as it is been let and managed by a known letting agent.

    The council says the common parts and my flat comes under the AHMO rules BUT funnily enough not the other flat let out.

    Now that I've got the schedule(been shoved into my face) I have not got a faintest idea i) What to do ii)  How to manage it.  iii) But most importantly be able to afford to comply with it.  Initially installing the items needed inc. fire alarm.  Also my flat will need to be overhauled. According to the EHO the Kitchen/Living Room need to be as open space.  I don't know how they can come and say the kitchen is too small when only one person will be living there and it is a One bed flat.  The kitchen is not too small. Also the toilet and shower need to be joined to create space.

    Finance apart the whole fiasco of how to manage it is mind boggling and it needs to be done on a regular basis.  I don't go to the property until my tenant calls. Now I will need to go there once a month. I can't afford to get a HMO management company and going there 12x a year be it only an hour away it is 70miles away is going to put on the cost on top of already heavy cost we are lumbered with.

    So much so I am scared of it now.  Having done the course I am even more scared of it.  One thing wrong and they got me by the collar.

    Specially after the trainer commented he wouldn't go for an HMO although his knowledge was good and answered the Q thrown at him. (I would not knock the trainer as 1) He is hired by one of the leading #LA agency trainee  2) I saw House Under the Hammer in which one of the agent commented when he came to inspect one of the bidder property ' He wouldn't do HMO's.)

    Has anyone got any comments, to put me at ease, that it is not as bad and/or point me to right direction please. (its not going to be easy to persuade me specially if I had the property for 12yrs and now been lumbar with this extra burden).

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    Ok, it sounds like you've got a lot on your mind.

    Make a list, and work out what you can sort out now, and what you need clarification from, and from who.

    The majority of your list may be concerning the council. Have they visited the property and were you there? Did you get a schedule of works?

    I'm confused by this zombie flat that is in your property. You need to find out who owns it, who lets it, and who is in it! Land Registry would be a good start, followed by speaking to the tenant and explaining a simple situation so as not to worry them.

    Of course, you will have to decide long term if this is for you. If you think its bad now, what will it be like in 10 years?

    Multi-storey properties are now very much on the radar and this is one factor you cannot change about where you are now.


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    It might be simpler to transfer the freehold into a separate management company jointly and equally managed by all the flat owners. That way at least your flat won't be treated any differently from the others.

    The other flat owners are entitled to demand that anyway once they have owned the flats for two years I believe. The Leasehold Advisory Service may be able to advise.

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    It is unclear from your post whether you own the freehold of the whole building or just your flat. This is important because:

    1. If your flat needs an additional licence, and terms and conditions of the licence should be restricted to the flat itself.

    2. If the building containing the flats is deemed to be 'a section 257 HMO', that could fall within the remit of an additional licensing scheme. If so, who is responsible for applying for the licence and being the licence holder with depend on the precise arrangements - it is quite a complicated area of law.

    In this case, it may be '1', '2' or both, depending on the circumstances. If it helps, I have published a free guide to additional licensing that may help you to work through some of these issues: https://www.londonpropertylicensing.co.u...-licensing

    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.


    Hi Adam_, Alison K and Richard T. Thanks for your contributions.

    Sorry for not putting in I am the Freeholder. I collect the GR from Lease Holders and Rent from my flat I own under the free hold.

    So I am deemed to be the manager.  

    Last year my flat had a Council tenant who was I evicted.  That was headache enough for me personally.

    Adam I am thinking strongly whether  in the long term if this is for me. But I am not scared of doing new things only if it comes in stages. But even this morning I saw House Under the Hammer where one estate agent said he wouldn't deal with HMO's if it was him.  They(Gov) are not only making it difficult for new one but also for those in the know how. If it's not managing it it is the cost of it.  The new HMO council tax banding I keep hearing about is killing some of the HMO LL.

    Alison the fact that I am the freeholder was ok until few years back when i) I had a bereavement I lost my job and ii) because of lack of knowledge I didn't know how to deal with the LH's.  There were some works to be done to the property which I needed my side of the funds it is still on hold. And also one LH had some works needed to be done to his flat and I gave it a ok in an email only. Then later on when I started attending property seminars I found out I needed him to get a formal plan put in to the lease. And as at this minute I have not so good relations with the two LH's all is put on hold. So getting to agree to as you suggest will not be on easy terms.

    RT I hope I have and some your Q's in this comment.

    1. It is the whole building I will be personally responsible for.

    2. It does come under the s257 HMO for the reason described in my OP more than 3 stories and at least 2/3rds is let out.

    Yes it is both for me personally.  One thing I don't understand why one of the LH who has let his flat out hasn't been put under this jurisdiction of his flat being an HMO.

    Thanks for the link I will read it.

    I hope this has cleared most of your Q's asked above.

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    Richard I am reading your link document. It is good read.

    The one thing that made it compulsory to apply was the 3rd bullet point you made

    • the conversion did not comply with the relevant Building Regulations in force at that time and still does not comply.

    I got the property in 2006. It was converted in 2000 with planning but not the BR Certification of completion.


    BTW my flat and the shop do not have a lease of its own now. The shop did when it had 16yrs lease and he has left as well.  ie the shop is now empty.

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    Richard,

    Can I ask you one Q were you in the meeting given by Camden Council on HMO on 4th Oct 2018 in Kings Cross.

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    No, I wasn't at that meeting.

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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.

    Oh I thought you would have been there as an expert on HMO as you are.

    That is where the council kept saying my kind of property has always been an HMO it's just that I have just found out.

    How is one supposed to associate a building with self contained flats as an HMO. It is property with multiple flats not House of Multiple Occupation.

    They need to create another rule calling it Building of Multiple Flats.  

    I agree with having safety standard set in but to rule it as an HMO  is just riddles.

    Perhaps someone like your self can gather other HMO experts, and call for that to be implemented. 

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    The HMO definition has remained unchanged since 2006. It is in the Housing Act 2004, so you would need to lobby your MP if you think it should be changed.

    Such buildings are referred to in the legislation under the title 'certain converted blocks of flats'.

    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.


    I agree but the knowledge is not out there unless one hunts for it.  

    I have read a brief about this under the s257 only after being pointed to it by the council.  Until last year I was under the impression HMO is only for houses and that only to stop rouge LL to exploit it.  Not property like mine.

    I think also that the onus is all on the LL or owner. If the LL chooses to have a managing agent who understands the HMO or other parts of lettings to manage it the LL still has to be liable for it not he agent as I under stand it.

    I am still learning and need to learn a lot on how to manage something like my property.  As a single property holder who wasn't interested in investment I have a lot to learn.  But the HMO schedule that the council has given has thrown me in the ditch.

    I might even sell it if I think I can't handle it. That's what the government is doing.

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