Overcrowded HMO?

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    Overcrowded HMO?

    Hi,

    I've been living in a 5 bedroom HMO for a few years. For most of the time there were a total of 5 people living here (including myself) and things were OK, however since sometime this year one of the rooms was occupied by a couple and I've recently been informed that another couple is about to move in into one of the other rooms in two weeks time, bringing up the total number of people living in the house to 7.

    This would create a number of problems: First off, there is only 1 bathroom for everyone which also has the toilet, so already now with 6 people if you want pee but someone is taking a nice, long, hot shower - well, let's just say you get plenty of kegel muscles exercise. One of the (male) occupants has resorted to taking a piss in the garden by the fence on several occasions when the bathroom is busy.

    Then there's the issue with the kitchen/dining room (a single room) which has one cooker with only one of its 4 burners working and it has been that way since I moved in a long time ago. Last year the aspiration unit died and hasn't been fixed to this day. There is only one dining table with 4 chairs, 2 fridges with some missing interior parts, one outdoors table with a single plastic garden chair.

    For garbage we have 1 black bin (80 litres?) and 2 blue (recycle) bins - initially there was only 1 recycle but after many pleas the LL added a 2nd - those bins are collected once every 2 weeks so having only 1 bin for general waste for 6 people has proven to be inadequate as we fill it up by the end of the first week after collection, leaving us with no option but to put general waste in the recycle bins.

    All of this is supposed to accommodate 6 (soon to be 7) people forming 5 separate households (2 couples and 3 individuals). I, and others, have made the LL aware of every single issue I mentioned on multiple occasions either by text or in person when he comes to collect the rent but he hasn't done anything about it - he only replaces things that break completely (he did replace the oven when it died completely, the water heater unit and the shower head as well as performed a few minor repairs over the years)

    I don't want to move out because the place is close to a motorway junction and my work requires me to travel to different places every day, usually by motorway plus I love the neighborhood and the surrounding area and I get along well with almost everyone living here in the house.

    In addition no one here has any signed tenancy agreements, nor is anyone getting receipts for paying their rent (whether via standing order by bank or cash), which on several occasions has resulted in minor disputes with the LL as he often forgets who paid him when.

    What can I/we legally do to...not force, but perhaps...entice our LL to improve the communal areas so they can adequately support the comfortable co-existence of seven people? LL does have a HMO license and is registered with the council so it's all legal, apparently

    #2
    If the local authority think the property is OK, there's not much you can do other than move.
    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


      #3
      Are you sure the landlord is complying with the licence. It sounds to me as though he isn't.

      Comment


        #4
        It sounds to me the landlord is not meeting the minimum bathroom and sink requirements per head for HMO.

        As far as I am aware even for 5 people HMO you need at least 2 bathrooms to comply with requirements.

        Check with the council and get an enforcement order.

        Comment


          #5
          There used to be an HMO license displayed in the entrance hall but someone broke the frame some time ago so it's no longer there for me to check it. I've checked the council website - there's a section called "HMO public register" and ours isn't on the list.

          From the council website : "We have a duty under the Housing Act 2004 to maintain a public register of all HMO Licences. The table below give details such as the address, the maximum number of people allowed in the house and licence expiry date. We update the information regularly."

          Comment


            #6
            Not displaying it would mean the landlord is in breach. Not appearing on the public register suggests it is not licensed!

            Comment


              #7
              Invite council environmental health or HMO dept to visit. e.g.
              http://www.slough.gov.uk/business/li...-licences.aspx
              - with details you have posted above.

              No written tenancy agreements eh? He'd have difficultly evicting under s21 I suspect (eg no EPC served, no GSC etc etc etc..)

              £5 says he's fiddling his tax. Mention to landlord that HMRC wanted his details & watch his face. And/or grass him up anyway...
              https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/shortforms/form/TEH_IRF

              Do you have an address for him? If not, no rent due (!).
              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by hdv456 View Post

                There used to be an HMO license displayed in the entrance hall but someone broke the frame some time ago so it's no longer there for me to check it. I've checked the council website - there's a section called "HMO public register" and ours isn't on the list.

                From the council website : "We have a duty under the Housing Act 2004 to maintain a public register of all HMO Licences. The table below give details such as the address, the maximum number of people allowed in the house and licence expiry date. We update the information regularly."
                In that case, to sweeten the deal for you, you are usually entitled last 12 months of rent refunded back to you from the landlord for staying in a property that does not have proper HMO license.

                The HMO team in LA where my property is located at least is very active and fast in enforcement, shoot a email off and you should get a visit pretty quickly.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I think 7 people would make it a sui generis hmo requiring planning consent

                  Comment

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