Unlicensed and HMO and room size

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    Unlicensed and HMO and room size

    My area doesn't need a HMO licence for 4 bed property. The license is only reqd for a 5 bed and more.

    I have a 4 bed property which I rent out to students as a 3 bedroom house. The 4th bedroom size is bit less than 6.51 sq meters reqd for a HMO license and as a result I have never allowed 4 students in the property so far knowing this. When I look at rightmove , I can see many agents advertising 4 bed property with bedroom size less that 6.51 sq meters and meant for 4 students and they are without HMO license. (mind you a license is not reqd for a 4 bed in the locality) . I can see the floor plan advertised and therefore I know about the size of the bedrooms from there.

    I got in touch with one of the agent to query how they manage to do this, and their answer is the room size only matters if the HMO needs a license. From what I know this cannot be true as a small HMO also needs to be complying to the same regulations and a licensed one. The agents in question are well known large agents and been operating in the student let market for a long time so I expect them to know the rules better then me. Now I could be wrong but just wanted to check the view of the senior people regarding this.

    If the agents are doing the correct thing, I can also get 4 students in the property and get bit more income.

    What is your view please ?

    The licence is driven by the number of people living there, not the number of rooms.
    So if a four bed property ends up with a couple in one of the rooms it'll be a large HMO.

    The room size regulations aren't limited to licensed HMOs, but enforcement is limited.
    The local authority can add their own size limits to their local licensing schemes.
    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).


      Actually I think the room size regulations in the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences)(England) Regulations 2018 are limited to licensable HMOs. The Part X Housing Act 1985 space standards would apply, but I believe that in these, a room that is smaller than 6.51 sqm may be useable by an adult if there is sufficient communal space.

      Having said that, a Council can introduce Additional Licensing at any time so if you intend to let it to a student, you should probably check their website at the end of each term to make sure its still not licensable.


        The Part X Housing Act seems to be the correct direction and I have verified this with the local council and they say the same. The room less the 6.51 sq meters should be let out. So looks like the agents are not doing the correct thing.


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