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HMO Guide For Tenants

HMOs for tenants

HMO – a tenants’ guide

If you want to live in Central London and your budget’s tight, more and more landlords are offering specialist properties called Houses in Multiple Occupation, or HMOs for short.

These are a cost-effective option, and work well for all parties, but it’s always worth being aware of what your rights and responsibilities are, and what are the landlord’s.

Are you living in an HMO property?

Identification is more complex than you might think, as different councils have different criteria, and even the government guidelines have a few grey areas.

However, you are probably in an HMO property if:

  • Three or more unrelated people live there as at least two separate households. Examples could be three single people with their own rooms, or two couples each sharing a room.
  • You share a kitchen and/or bathroom.

If you’re not sure, just ask your landlord. If we’re the managing agents, then we’ll always tell you at the outset, before you sign any tenancy agreement, whether you will be living in an HMO property.

Landlords’ duties

  • Take proper fire safety measures, including installing smoke detectors.
  • Check for gas safety every year.
  • Check for electrical safety every years.
  • Ensure there are adequate cooking and washing facilities (important, as you may well be sharing these).
  • Provide sufficient bin bags for waste disposal.
  • Make sure that all communal areas are clean and in good repair.
  • Ensure the property is not overcrowded.
  • Carry out repairs to the structure and exterior of the house, including the walls, window frames and gutters. They are also responsible for: water and gas pipes, wiring, plumbed appliances (e.g. toilets, sinks, basins, showers), plus fixed heaters and water heaters.

Tenants’ responsibilities

  • Any minor repairs to living areas and any items you own. Also any appliances you bought yourself.
  • You may have some responsibility for shared areas like gardens or communal areas (cleaning or keeping tidy rather than maintaining).
  • You are not responsible for normal wear and tear, but you may be accountable for breakages.
  • Some areas can vary – always check your rental agreement to see who is responsible for what.
  • If you want to redecorate, always get your landlord’s permission in writing first.

Different councils have different regulations – you’ll be able to check these on their website. For example, much of Central London is covered by Westminster Council – you can find comprehensive information for tenants here

More details

We have lots more information on our site, including answers for your property-related questions, as well as a useful guide to the renting process. And if you want to bring your best friend to live with you, remember that we also have a growing number of landlords on our books who will accept lets with pets


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