How do you rent a property for use as a house in multiple occupancy?

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    How do you rent a property for use as a house in multiple occupancy?


    My situation is that in March of next year, me and two of my friends are wanting to rent a three bedroom property to live in. However, a quick bit of googling on how to split utilities and joint bank accounts for this purpose led me to an unexpected discovery; our house of three will constitute a house in multiple occupancy or HMO. Having looked up the rules for our local authority, this will not need a specific HMO licence, but I have a few questions:
    1. Can we be prevented from renting a property because we are sharers?
    2. Will there be additional charges tacked on above the normal additional tenant fees many places incur?
    3. Is there anything that must be done differently compared to renting a property for a family of three?
    4. Will we need separate tenancy agreements?
    5. Are there any special rules that apply to a HMO which does not require a licence?

    We are all sure well be able to afford the rent, and have discussed our options thoroughly but I'm now unsure of the implications of HMO status on this property. is there anything I've missed in considering setting up a HMO?

    We are all first time renters, so we're all figuring this stuff out, especially as my parents have only ever rented in America, and none of us have any personal or family experiences of setting up or living in a HMO.

    You don't need to worry about anything. Just go to an estate agent and they do it all.

    Unless you think you can rent a house that is advertised for a family with the rent to suite and believe you can just pay the same with three sharing! Not likely


      There are complications with renting an HMO - but they apply to the landlord and the regulations that apply to the building - which are more onerous than the regulations that apply to a property that is not an HMO.
      So, provided the landlord is prepared to rent the property as an HMO, and complies with the regulations, you should be fine.

      Many landlords are not aware of the regulations, and not aware that there is anything different renting to three people rather than one family.
      If you are students you may find that this type of accommodation is readily available.

      1 - Yes.
      2 - That depends, but usually each tenant has to be referenced, credit checked etc. If you are moving to the UK from overseas, this can be quite a challenge on its own.
      3 - Yes, there are swathes of HMO regulations, but from your point of view, it's the same process.
      4 - Different landlords do this differently. Most will want a single joint agreement. That means that you, rather than the landlord are responsible for council tax (although you may be exempt if you are full time students). What that means, though, is that all three of you are jointly committed to everything and it can become complex if one of you wants to leave the arrangement.
      5 - Almost all of the HMO rules apply regardless of the need for a licence. The licence can impose special additional local requirements.
      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).


        Your house is a HMO. Your LL will need to have fire doors on each bedroom and between the kitchen and other rooms, with automatic closures on the doors. LL will need to have hardwired smoke and heat alarms.

        Two unrelated people are ok, but three unrelated people makes it a HMO.

        You could have separate agreements, or joint and several. Joint and several means you are all liable for rent, utilities etc so if one person leaves the remaining two are liable and if two leave the one left has to pay everything.

        If you have separate agreements the LL takes up the slack but can enter the property at any time and put a stranger in the empty room. Or you could find your own person.

        If it's a HMO the LL is responsible for cleaning the communal areas. Not your washing up though!


          Make sure you are upfront about there being three of you. Or you will find yourself out on your ear after six months if the landlord finds he has an unwanted HMO on his hands.

          If you are anywhere near a student area you will struggle to find a three bed HMO without paying through the nose.

          If you are willing to accept room only rents and maybe even share with another 'spareroom' 'easyroom' etc might be a viable way to go to find 3 room only lets together.


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