Tenant Couple with 2 Lodgers - Is this a HMO?

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    Tenant Couple with 2 Lodgers - Is this a HMO?

    Hi All,

    I've read through quite a lot of the threads and I think we are safe as we have 2 lodgers with the full consent of the landlord.

    Basically we are a couple who rent out an entire 3-bed house and the landlord has agreed that we can take in lodgers with one monthly price for just us in the house and then £100 for each additional room that we rent out. We will live in the third bedroom and are the official tenants on the AST with the landlord.

    Normally we will rent out both rooms and pay the landlord the full top up amount.

    Am I right in saying that it is not a HMO or that we are not responsible for the HMO because:

    1. We only accept 2 x lodgers in a 3 bed house - so no over-crowding.
    2. The landlord is fully aware of the sub-letting/lodgers and gets a top-up payment for the rooms being rented out.

    One complication may involve the payments, we take a flat fee per month and include the bills in this. Someone previously mentioned that the responsible person is the one that receives two thirds of the rent. If we take the bills out, that would be the landlord but including the money for the bills, that would be us.

    I just want to make sure that we are doing everything right and above board here so any help would be much appreciated.


    #2
    Sounds like an HMO in most jurisdictions, check with your local authority.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for the response. Whose responsibility would it fall under do you think? Ours or the landlord?

      Comment


        #4
        FWIW I also believe it is an HMO. Three households = HMO. There is an exception for an owner and two lodgers, which does not apply here.
        There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

        Comment


          #5
          Do you think its on us to manage/get the license or the landlord?

          Also, do councils ever look for retrospective payment for any years that a HMO was not registered?

          Comment


            #6
            No great expert but I would say that responsibility for this falls (entirely, I would think?) on the landlord.

            It isn't just about licencing, it is also about planning consent. The requirements vary according to location so step one would be to check local authority website. There is probably a page dedicated to HMOs.
            There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

            Comment


              #7
              It's definitely an HMO.
              It may or may not require licensing depending on your local authority rules.
              Whether or not it needs planning permission, or is allowed at all, is also is a local decision.

              The regulations relating to any HMO are essentially the same, licensing simply adds more if the local authority wants more.

              It is unlikely that a standard residential property would meet the regulations without modification
              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


                #8
                Bigger problems come from having to pay back ALL the rent etc etc etc and s21 invalid
                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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                  Bigger problems come from having to pay back ALL the rent etc etc etc and s21 invalid
                  This is concerning. Are you saying that we would have to pay back all the rent that lodgers paid to us, or the landlord would have to pay back rent that we paid to them?

                  In terms of the S21 becoming invalid. Do you mean in the sense that the landlord could evict us instantly without the proper notice period?

                  So the house is definitely a HMO but we need to confirm with the local authority whether it needs a license or not. My second main question is whether the licensing would be the responsibility of the landlord or us.

                  Essentially, what is the risk to us here? Any headaches relating to evicting lodgers/our rights in the house are not of major concern. My main concern would be who is responsible for the licensing and any potential fines for it not being licensed when it should be.

                  So main questions are now:

                  1. Who is responsible for licensing - us or the landlord?
                  2. What is the risk to us with it being unlicensed?
                  3. If we only had one lodger, would it still be a HMO? If so, would it still need licensing?

                  Thanks for the help, everyone's been great in what appears to a bit of a grey area.


                  Comment


                    #10
                    IMHO ultimately the property owner needs to take steps to ensure they avoid prosecution and/or fines such as rent payment orders.

                    But hey, your choice if you wish to ignore the risk.

                    Here's a case where the question of who was landlord & who should repay rent cropped up.. (yes I know your circumstances are different...)
                    https://nearlylegal.co.uk/2019/09/re...-the-landlord/
                    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


                      #11
                      Deiseman,

                      And assuming you are not married (or civilly partnered) then just having one lodger would still be treated as HMO (3 separate households) by some authorities.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        theartfullodger,

                        I absolutely do not want to ignore the risk so want to remove all doubt.

                        Another thing, with the mandatory licensing rules. Does it require a license if if any one "mandatory requirement" is met or does it have to be a number of them?

                        One of the mandatory requirements is that if there are two 'households' sharing a kitchen/bathroom. If this is the case, then wouldn't any house with two separate people (such as 1 x tenant and 1 x lodger, or 2 x tenants who don't know each other) who share a kitchen/bathroom then need a mandatory license?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Check what the local council for THAT property requires. In your shoes I'd approach them first as if they come after you first themselves things are likely to be more painful.

                          Good luck!
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Deiseman View Post
                            So main questions are now:

                            1. Who is responsible for licensing - us or the landlord?
                            2. What is the risk to us with it being unlicensed?
                            3. If we only had one lodger, would it still be a HMO? If so, would it still need licensing?

                            Thanks for the help, everyone's been great in what appears to a bit of a grey area.
                            It isn't a particularly grey area. It is a fairly complex area due to the nature of difference HMO definitions and requirements (e.g. Housing Act 2004 / C4 planning / selective licencing), but the definitions are generally fairly clear-cut.

                            Without being a particular expert, I believe:

                            1. Just the landlord.
                            2. The current arrangement coming to a fairly abrupt end. LL alone would be responsible for breaches of regs.
                            3. Yes. Three people, two households = HMO as per Housing Act
                            There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              doobrey,

                              Trouble is there are two landlords here:. Which one did you mean ?
                              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

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