Tenant Couple with 2 Lodgers - Is this a HMO?

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    Originally posted by Deiseman View Post
    Thanks for that point. In the lodger agreement, we always put the landlords address so I guess that would count?
    No, it has to be given to the occupants as well.
    The requirement is that the manager's "name, address and any telephone contact number" are "clearly displayed in a prominent position" within the HMO.

    As for the fire regulations, we have smoke alarms and are going to get fire extinguishers after the points raised here just to be safe. Do these fire regulations still stand in a house that isn't overcrowded and only has 3 bedrooms/2 floors?
    Yes - they stand because it's an HMO.

    The actual requirement is that "The manager must take all such measures as are reasonably required to protect the occupiers of the HMO from injury, having regard to—
    (a)the design of the HMO; (b)the structural conditions in the HMO; and (c)the number of occupiers in the HMO."

    What that means in English, is that the risks in the building, especially fire should be formally assessed by a qualified person and the recommendations implemented. The solutions need to be specific to the actual building.

    Pretty much invariably that means that the fire alarms are hard wired and interconnected, there are heat detector(s) in the kitchen and that the internal doors are much more fire retardant than those you'd find in a residential property.
    Fire escape routes will need to be kept clear and, usually, external doors fitted with locks that can be easily opened from inside.

    The HMO regulations are quite specific, and the fines for non-compliance can be quite large - it's not a question of being a decent landlord, they're actual laws you have to comply with.

    And they're very hard for a tenant to comply with, because the regulations impose a duty to keep things in repair that you are, probably, not able to keep in repair without your landlord's help (because he has that obligation under your tenancy).

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  • Deiseman
    replied
    Thanks for that point. In the lodger agreement, we always put the landlords address so I guess that would count?

    As for the fire regulations, we have smoke alarms and are going to get fire extinguishers after the points raised here just to be safe. Do these fire regulations still stand in a house that isn't overcrowded and only has 3 bedrooms/2 floors?

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    One of the "many" regulations relating to all HMOs is that managers name and address is clearly displayed in the property, so someone would have to accept the role to be 100% compliant.

    The biggest risk is the failure to properly assess the fire safety requirements of the property.

    Leave a comment:


  • Deiseman
    replied
    Originally posted by doobrey View Post
    This is the post I referred to earlier on in the thread. Basically we include bills in the rent we charge to lodgers. This would mean that we receive the bulk of the money (as we charge for the bills) but when you discount the bills, the landlord takes the bulk of the money.

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  • Deiseman
    replied
    No, we'd be the opposite of happy but surely the landlord knowing the situation and admitting to me (in writing) that he takes responsibility then means that whatever he tells the council doesn't matter as he has told me otherwise.

    It is literally written into our AST that he makes more rent money depending on how many rooms we have rented out in a given month.

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  • theartfullodger
    replied
    Well, ummm... so let's say the owner (there are two landlords - the owner is your landlord then you are the landlord of your lodgers) accepts he's liable for licensing: Great, wonderful: But then the owner either does nothing or tells the council incorrect info (eg "I rent to a couple so it's not a HMO is it..). Then council find our reality, decide (for whatever reason..) to pursue you and you end up with fines and perhaps a rent repayment order to repay your lodger's rent. Do't think you'd be happy...

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  • Deiseman
    replied
    Section20z,

    I agree, its not the licensing fee I am worried about but any potential fine. No one seems to know who is liable here, but if I can get the landlord to accept responsibility for any licensing issues in writing then can we essentially say case closed?

    If he doesn't accept it then we are going to have to bring the tenancy to a close.

    Leave a comment:


  • doobrey
    replied
    I found a relevant thread here.

    https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...ncy-being-used

    Based on post #8 I think Deiseman may well be responsible for HMO compliance. If you read the whole thread there is an ongoing discussion on the question of who is responsible, without a very clear conclusion (even from the authorities in that case).

    This is from the Housing Act 2004, section 263.

    263 Meaning of “person having control” and “person managing” etc.
    (1)In this Act “person having control”, in relation to premises, means (unless the context otherwise requires) the person who receives the rack-rent of the premises (whether on his own account or as agent or trustee of another person), or who would so receive it if the premises were let at a rack-rent.
    (2)In subsection (1) “rack-rent” means a rent which is not less than two-thirds of the full net annual value of the premises.
    (3)In this Act “person managing” means, in relation to premises, the person who, being an owner or lessee of the premises—
    (a)receives (whether directly or through an agent or trustee) rents or other payments from—
    (i)in the case of a house in multiple occupation, persons who are in occupation as tenants or licensees of parts of the premises; and

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  • Section20z
    replied
    IMO the liability here is not the cost of the licence, it's the potential fine for non compliance, compounded by the risk of sudden homelessness for the OP.
    I know in one London borough they have identified 43,000 properties that should be licensed as HMOs yet only 573 have applied for licences.
    The point being enforcement is slow and probably not a priority. Discretion might be advised....

    Leave a comment:


  • Deiseman
    replied
    My local authority doesn't currently run additional or selective licensing. Does this now mean it may or may not be licensable rather than definitely licensable?

    Leave a comment:


  • DPT57
    replied
    If there is an Additional Licensing scheme in place that means this HMO is licensable, then it's the HMO Manager that is liable. I think this has to mean the person that has created the situation and is receiving the rent, (which is you the OP). That doesn't necessarily mean that if you failed to pay or moved abroad before the Council could sue you, that they would not then pursue the owner. However, the owner would be sensible in the first instance to refer the Council to you as the liable party and you would have no defence that I can see.

    Leave a comment:


  • doobrey
    replied
    Originally posted by Deiseman View Post
    God, why would anyone bother??
    Seems, in my area, that increasingly they don't. :-) HMOs are being dumped like there is no tomorrow.

    Originally posted by Deiseman View Post
    I guess as long as they accept responsibility then the only thing I need to worry about is the being turfed out without proper notice. Would this be correct?
    You shouldn't need to worry about being turfed out without proper notice. If there was any enforcement action against the owner, tenants rights would take priority.

    I'm not sure about the question of responsibility. If your subtenants had ASTs then you would be a mesne tenant and essentially their landlord and my understanding is that responsibility for HMO compliance would be yours. Since they are lodgers my feeling is not. But not sure. Either wait for a more authoritative answer here or do further research.

    Leave a comment:


  • Deiseman
    replied
    jpkeates,

    On your last point on making it legal - My tenancy agreement explicitly states that I cannot make any modifications to the house.

    Leave a comment:


  • Deiseman
    replied
    God, why would anyone bother??

    I know it's to protect tenants from dangerous overcrowded houses, but this house is none of those things and such over-reaching regulations end up hurting renters as a whole.

    So is my best bet just to email the landlord and ask them if they have done proper research/contacted the council to ensure that the property does not need to be licensed and that they take responsibility for the licensing in it's entirety? I guess as long as they accept responsibility then the only thing I need to worry about is the being turfed out without proper notice. Would this be correct?

    Leave a comment:


  • doobrey
    replied
    Originally posted by Deiseman View Post
    one of the points says if two or more households share a kitchen/bathroom then a license is required but then this would essentially mean any household with 2 x tenants, 1 x tenant/1 x lodger etc. would need a license so it seems a bit of a strict!
    The Housing Act definition of an HMO is more than two people, more than one household. ("the building is occupied by at least three people who constitute more than one household")


    Originally posted by Deiseman View Post
    I also don't think he wants to lose us and he has been working under these long before we arrived so I imagine he will just get it licensed if it otherwise means us moving out.
    Depending on the local authority requirements, making it an HMO might not be possible or practical. Possible implications include C4 planning use, fire doors, inter-connected hard-wired smoke alarms + heat detector, compliant windows, thumb-turn locks, EICR, fire risk assessment, council inspection, cost of licence, requirement to pay council tax....

    There are various 'ifs' and it really depends on the specific situation, but the issues are not trivial.

    Leave a comment:

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