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Houses in Multiple Occupation

Coronavirus: Landlords and Renters

The government has brought forward a package of measures to protect renters affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). With these in force, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-support-available-for-landlords-and-renters-reflecting-the-current-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

  • From 26 March 2020 landlords will have to give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession. This means the landlord can’t apply to start the court process until after this period.
  • From 27 March 2020 the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action. This means that neither cases currently in the system nor any about to go in the system can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted.
  • Tenants are still liable for their rent and should pay this as usual. If they face financial hardship and struggle to pay this, support is available and we would encourage tenants and landlords to work together to put in place a rent payment scheme.
  • Landlords will also be protected by a 3 month mortgage payment holiday where they have a Buy to Let mortgages.
  • Landlords remain legally obligated to ensure properties meet the required standard – urgent, essential health and safety repairs should be made. An agreement for non-urgent repairs to be done later should be made between tenants and landlords. Local authorities are also encouraged to take a pragmatic, risk-based approach to enforcement.

What is a ‘House in Multiple Occupation’?

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a single property that is occupied by three or more people living as more than one household and who share basic amenities.

  • A household is defined as occupiers of the same family and includes spouses, co-habitees, same sex couples and any blood relative.
  • Basic amenities means a toilet, personal washing facilities, or cooking facilities.

HMOs include bedsits, shared houses, flats, houses partly converted into self-contained flats, hostels and accommodation above shops.

Houses converted to self-contained flats before 1991 (so not in accordance with the 1991 Building Regulations) will also be HMOs.

ESBC's HMO Policy

For further information please see the Council's HMO Policy.

Which HMOs need a licence?

The Housing Act 2004 introduced a requirement for HMOs to be licensed if they have:

5 or more occupants; and
2 or more households

Further information and to Apply for a Houses in Multiple Occupation Licence.

Other Requirements

The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 apply to all HMOs whether or not they have to be licensed. They impose certain duties on managers and occupiers of such buildings. Broadly those duties include a requirement that:

The manager:

  • provides his or her contact details to the occupiers and displays them in the property
  • keeps means of escape free from obstruction and in good repair and maintains firefighting equipment and alarms
  • ensures that the occupiers of the HMO are not injured because of its design and condition
  • ensures there is suitable drainage from the HMO and a suitable water supply which is not unreasonably interrupted
  • provides annual gas safety certificates (if gas is supplied) to the council when requested
  • carries out safety checks on electrical installations every five years
  • Ensures the supply of gas (if any) and electricity is not unreasonably interrupted
  • keeps in repair and good condition the property (including any fixtures and fittings within it)
  • maintains any shared garden and keeps in repair any structures belonging to the HMO
  • keeps in repair the occupiers’ living accommodation within the HMO, including fixtures and fittings
  • provides suitable facilities for the disposal of rubbish

The occupiers:

  • Do nothing to stop or prevent the manager from carrying out his or her duties
  • take reasonable care not to damage anything for which the manager is responsible
  • dispose of rubbish in accordance with the arrangements made by the manager
  • comply with reasonable instructions relating to fire safety

The “manager” in these regulations includes the landlord or a person responsible for the management of the HMO.

ESBC's Housing Enforcement Policy

For further information on the Council's duty to ensure HMOs meet the relevant health and safety requirements, please refer to the ESBC Housing Enforcement Policy.

Contact Details

Contact Environmental Health for advice:

  • Tel (01283) 508578
  • Email ehsupport@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk
  • Visit the Council’s Customer Service Centres based in the Market Place, Burton upon Trent or Uttoxeter Library, Uttoxeter.
  • Write to: Housing Standards, PO Box 8045, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 9JG