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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    Soft furnishing provided by tenant

    I still had an ex wife on the electoral role etc...

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    Ah okay makes sense!

    Thanks again btw, the council have just sent me confirmation today that they're happy with both short term & part time guests with their main residence elsewhere, so you've really helped me out!

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    That's great news and it sounds as if your council have a sensible approach to your situation. I really do believe there is some additional leeway for us resident landlords.

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    It may or may not require a license (depending on local additional HMO licencing) but it is an HMO and thus requires all the HMO regulations to be followed e.g. fire doors, smoke detectors...

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    How have you come to that conclusion?

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    Section 254 of the Housing Act 2004. Regulations that apply to the condition of HMOs apply whether it requires a licence or not. have a look at the examples in section D of the LACoRS/CFOA fire advice - they do not differentiate between a licensed and unlicensed HMO.

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    The requirement of a licence isn't relevant. The property doesn't satisfy S254 and therefore isn't a HMO.

    The general discussion has been that a homeowner household plus 3 lodgers is an HMO but a homeowner household plus 2 lodgers and a guest is not.

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     I was replying  to the message:

    Hi Gary,

    Why would three lodgers have been an issue for you?

    Wouldn't the total number of occupants (you + 3 lodgers) be 4 and therefore not require licencing?

    Thanks,

    Will

    As this appeared to be a question from the OP (although the account name is different) I felt it was worth addressing directly. I was highlighting the misconception a lot of landlords seem to have - if an HMO doesn't require licensing then it is a lot easier/cheaper to run. The vast majority of the rules and regulations apply to all HMOs, not just those requiring a licence.

    Your only response was that you had an ex-wife on the electoral role - something I'm not sure really has any relevance as she is highly likely to be counted as the same household as you (on paper) and section 2.5 of https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letting-rooms-in-your-home-a-guide-for-resident-landlords/letting-rooms-in-your-home-a-guide-for-resident-landlords states:

    For the purpose of calculating the number of persons living in the HMO the resident landlord and his household (if any) count as one person.

    So with 3 lodgers you would have been a 4 person HMO. I can't find the relevant section of the Housing Act which backs this up though.

    I did however find planning guidance that if

    members of your household + lodgers > 6

    then you will need Sui Generis planning permission - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/...cle/2/made and https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200130/common_projects/9/change_of_use. This only appears to include residents with the property as their main home so short term guests do not count.

    To bring the post back to what you were talking about, if you have a large proportion of your house being used for paying occupants (e.g. two lodgers and one paying guest) then you may need to apply for change of use to C1 (without lodgers) or Sui Generis (with lodgers) as you will be running a business - https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200130/common_projects/56/working_from_home.


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    The reference you've quoted from the resident landlord guidance appears to be incorrect. I've not seen this is any legislation. There are other anomalies in this guidance but overall it provides good information.

    I agree that an HMO that doesn't require a licence is subject to other HMO regulations, but it must still meet the definition for an HMO before those regulations apply.

    Planning use class is even harder to determine and there are many factors to consider. A 5 bed shared house could require C1, C2, C3  C4, or Sui Generis, it may also be subject to council tax and/or business rates.

    A change of use for 2 lodgers and a guest is highly unlikely, not least because it would probably qualify the owner for full business rates relief rather than paying council tax.


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    If the council have said it isn't an HMO, then it doesn't require a licence. Seems simple to me.

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