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HMO Regulations & Licences

Outlet HMOs

How do you define HMO and do you need a licence?

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are properties shared by more than one household and where there are common areas such as landings or stairwells (and sometimes also bathrooms or kitchens).

Different councils have different regulations. Outlet Property specialises in properties within the London Borough of Westminster, which includes areas such as: Soho, Marylebone, Fitzrovia, Mayfair, St James’s, Paddington, Pimlico and Victoria. We also work with properties just outside Westminster, such as Bloomsbury, Euston and King’s Cross.

We have worked with many clients within these districts and know exactly what Westminster and other councils require from HMO properties.

Your property is definitely HMO and will require a licence if all the following apply:

  • It’s rented to five or more people who form more than one household
  • It’s at least three storeys high
  • Tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

In addition, other properties are defined as HMO, and these will also require a licence. Specifically, individual flats within purpose-built blocks let out to separate tenants, either on a joint or separate tenancy, rather than a family or a couple, where there at least five occupiers sharing facilities as two or more households, and where the flat is located in a building of at least three storeys (including basements).

However, there are also some properties which fit the above criteria which are exempt. Details of these are available from Westminster Council here

In addition, some conditions, both mandatory and discretionary, apply to the granting of an HMO licence in the Borough of Westminster and with other councils.

Regulations for HMO properties

Whether they are deemed to require a licence or not, all HMO properties are subject to strict regulations, some national, others particular to individual councils.

These cover areas such as minimum size of rooms, health and safety, housing standards, kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities security, fire safety, general management and much else.

Westminster Council’s regulations and details of relevant legislation can be found here.

If your property is in Euston, King’s Cross or Bloomsbury, details of their regulations are located here

What do HMO licences cost?

Again, this varies from borough to borough. For example, Westminster Council charges per room – but have two different prices depending on the level of information provided by the landlord (as of April 2015, their standard fee is either £380 or £480 per room). As your property agent, this is another area we can assist with, helping you meet the criteria for the lower fee.

How Outlet can ensure you comply with regulations – and maximise returns

As you can see, there’s a great deal involved in identifying, licensing, developing and maintaining HMO properties. And that’s before it comes to sourcing and managing the right tenants – no easy task when you’re dealing with several in one building. Fortunately, Outlet have plenty of experience in meeting council regulations – and a great track record in helping landlords maximise returns, as this case study shows

For more details, take a look at what we do and reasons to choose Outlet for HMO management

Then to find out how we can help you, please contact us


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