Having to be married to form a single household...

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    Having to be married to form a single household...

    I really cant get my head around this...

    Law states that a property is a HMO if there are more than 3 people living in a property that form more than one household. It classes a household as one individual, members of the same family (brother/father/aunt/cousin/etc) and married couples.

    I have a couple living in one of my properties that have been together 18 years, but are not married. The male recently moved his brother into the property as he's had some personal problems and they are all very close.

    The council did an fire safety inspection on the property (seem to be targeting certain areas) and found the property to be operating as a HMO and in breach of fire safety regulations.

    I was informed by the council that if the couple were married then it would not be a HMO!

    I can't understand how a wedding ring determines the difference between a property being safe, or being a fire hazard. How you can not class two people as a family just because they are not married.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this...

    #2
    Also a friend of mine just raised a very good point.

    He was brought up by his mother and step father and didn’t move from the rented family home until the age of 28, that too would have been classed as a HMO.

    So any rental properties out there with a step-month/father and a son/daughter over 18 is classed as a HMO??

    Comment


      #3
      Sounds like nonsense to me also. I take it your tenants played no part in calling the council?

      Comment


        #4
        I had an issue recently with a property where the couple were not married and a neighbour very kindly reported it to the council as an unlicensed HMO as they had the guys mother living with them. S258 of the 1985 Housing Act defines a couple as being married although on my reading of it also seems to say that it applies to a couple who are living together as husband and wife. The act was written long before anyone had thought of civil partnerships so when I spoke to a housing officer at our local council he did say that they need to take a pragmatic view.

        The definition he was querying is

        (3)For the purposes of subsection (2)(a) a person is a member of the same family as another person if—

        (a)those persons are married to each other or live together as husband and wife (or in an equivalent relationship in the case of persons of the same sex);

        (b)one of them is a relative of the other; or

        (c)one of them is, or is a relative of, one member of a couple and the other is a relative of the other member of the couple.

        The council saw sense in the end and said they were happy with the situation so no need for a licence.




        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by KJ3 View Post
          I have a couple living in one of my properties that have been together 18 years, but are not married. The male recently moved his brother into the property as he's had some personal problems and they are all very close.

          I was informed by the council that if the couple were married then it would not be a HMO!
          More than two people in more than one household. Whether the couple are married isn't relevant, it's how they live with the brother. If he's clearly living as a separate household, there might be something the council might be able to argue, but most houses don't lend themselves to that kind of arrangement. A household don't have to be married, and whoever told you that is just wrong.

          He was brought up by his mother and step father and didn’t move from the rented family home until the age of 28, that too would have been classed as a HMO.
          Again, that's almost certainly a single household. The council would have to show that it wasn't, but two parents and the child of one of them is a conventional family unit and the presumption would be that they're a single household.

          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

          Comment


            #6
            Household is defined by the legislation. The only fuzzy bit is that quoted above about cohabitation counting.

            Comment


              #7
              As far as I am aware from chatting with housing officers.

              The whole point of the whole household thing is that unrelated households would have hard time keeping track of each other for sake of fire and other safety issues.

              At least housing officers in my local city would consider boyfriend and girlfriend and their blood relatives in the same household, at one point I've had a boyfriend, girlfriend, boyfriend's sister, and girlfriends mother living in the same house. Even though boyfriend's sister and girlfriend's mother is unrelated, the housing officer considered them in the same household as they function in the same family unit, even though I've had HMO license on the property, it was not required.

              I've also heard from her that the strangest thing they classified was single household was 2 guys and 2 girls living in a commune, they were unrelated but living in some kind of huge polygamy (but unmarried) relationship, and they were able to somehow prove it.

              I am guessing that doesn't fall strictly within the HMO category, but it is worth chatting with your local authority and get it in writing (or email).

              Comment


                #8
                Here is a brief definition of what constitutes a household under the Housing Act 2004

                Under the Housing Act 2004, a household comprises:
                • a single person
                • co-habiting couples (whether or not of the opposite sex)
                • a family (including foster children and children being cared for) and current domestic employees.
                From discussions with one particular council it is quite clear that they take a different view but once challenged admit that they might indeed be mistaken and encourage landlords to make contact in order that the matter can be fully appraised.

                Comment


                  #9
                  As the person above me has stated, they would be classed as co-habiting. Therefore, this should not fall under HMO rules as they are a single household.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    What I dislike is that we now had to determine everyone's relationship status.
                    Prior to this, if 2 sisters and a male wanted to rent from me it wouldn't have been a problem, but now I have to ask if one of the sisters is in a relationship with the male. If I get 3 males that want to live together do I assume they are all just friends or do I now have to ask if two of them are in a relationship?
                    I feel this has opened a can of worms and put landlords in an unfair, awkward position.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I guess you'll have to wink at the lads, and say 'If anyone asks, two of you are gay partners.'

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by KJ3 View Post
                        Law states that a property is a HMO if there are more than 3 people living in a property that form more than one household.
                        If that quote of the law is correct, it doesn't matter what their relationship is, there are 3 people not more than 3 people.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by KJ3 View Post
                          Prior to this, ....
                          The Housing Act definition of an HMO have not changed.... The relevant bits under discussion in this thread have been the same since the Housing Act 2004 came into force in January 2005.

                          Originally posted by davett
                          If that quote of the law is correct, it doesn't matter what their relationship is, there are 3 people not more than 3 people.
                          It's not. HMO if more than one household, exception if "only occupied by two persons".
                          I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            What if the tenant takes in a lodger under the room to rent scheme? Does that turn it into an HMO?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              If the lodger makes the property contain more than two people in more than one household, yes it would.

                              It's one reason that it's almost impossible for two people not in a relationship can rent property together.
                              They might take a lodger or one might find a partner they move in.
                              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                              Comment

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