HMO- definition? use by a couple?

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    HMO- definition? use by a couple?

    Good day,

    First of all, let me start by stating that I am not a landlord, rather a person looking for a flat to rent. What is more, I am not a citizen of UK and the whole business with HMO seems quite complicated. Thus, answers to my questions might seem obvious. However, I find it hard to find any exact information on this matter, so please forgive me.

    I would also have to point out that I would like information on the situation in Scotland, Glasgow area in particular if that makes any difference.

    Now, as we got this out of the way, let's move on to the questions:

    1. Is there different types of HMO Licences? For example, is there HMO Licence for 3, 4, 5 or more people, or there's only one licence which allows to let the flat for as many people as you want?
    I'm asking because my friends and me are interested in renting 3 bedroom flat for 4, maybe 5 people. However, we are not sure if that is legally acceptable - I have received couple of replies that as the flat has only 3 bedrooms, only 3 persons could be living there. Which is rather strange for me frankly speaking.

    2. Does a flat count as HMO, if a couple and one other person is living there? If not, what is the definition of the couple? I mean, what proof do I need to convince my landlord that I am dating my girlfriend/boyfriend?

    Thank you for your time and answers, I appreciate that.

    Scottish law is different from in England & Wales. I've asked that your thread be moved to LZ's 'SCOTTISH' Forum.
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see
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    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).


      This thread has been moved into the Scottish Rental & Legal Issues Forum


        My understanding is that if a flat is occupied by any more than two unrelated people it is caught by HMO licencing requirements, therefore, if you are looking for a flat to accommodate 4 or 5 friends you need to be looking for a property that is licenced as an HMO and I'm sure your local authority will be able to give you a list of accredited landlords and/or agents who have HMOs.

        The number of rooms in a property doesn't really have a bearing, though obviously common sense dictates that you shouldn't be overcrowding and again, I seem to remember there is guidance as to how many common areas there must be, sinks/bathrooms etc., per no. of individuals in a property (over 5 from memory).


          Thank you.
          Then my next question would be, if I would want to rent a flat with my, say, girlfriend/boyfriend and one other friend, would I need to look for HMO licenced flat, or any 2-3 bedroom flat would do just fine?


            Hmmmm, tricky. If I was the prospective landlord I would phone the HMO/Landlord Registration officer in the local authority in which the property was registered and ask for their view on that situation before processing the application. I believe there could be a substantial fine for getting it wrong. As a prospective tenant there is nothing to stop you asking the same questions.

            If you can be bothered to do the asking, and you get a worthwhile response, please come back and let us all know what the answer was and which local authority gave it.


              I will try to contact them and will let you know if I get an exact answer.

              On the side note, what proof does one need to prove that he/she is a couple with someone? I have been told that various documents of joint adress, bills, etc. might be needed, which seems awfully complicated. However, is that true?


                Herewith Scottish Government guidance for tenants...


                Yes, odd that 3 unrelated plumbers sharing a bungalow would need a HMO licence but (as I had recently) 4 adults & 2 kids - two couples, one married one not, each with a small child, didn't require a HMO licence.

                See also
                document page 8 onwards...

                Two people are members of the same family if:
                • they are married, or live together as if they
                were married (including same-sex couples)
                The "rules" such as they are are in 2(5) of "Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
                (Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation) Order 2000, as amended

                (5) For purposes of this Order, a person is a member of the same family as another person if–
                (a)those persons are married to each other or live together as a couple; or
                (b)one of them is the parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the other,
                and, for the purposes of sub-paragraph (b) above–
                (i)a relationship by marriage shall be treated as a relationship by blood;
                (ii)a relationship of the half-blood shall be treated as a relationship of the whole blood;
                (iii)the stepchild of a person shall be treated as his or her child.
                Dunno how you "prove" that but I would look for things like (without wanting to be too personal..) bed shared, maybe joint bank account etc etc etc etc.. (in my case having a child was proof enough for me..) . Guess the rules would depend on case-law but you might want to contact the council HMO people... assuming this is Glasgow (pronounced Glesga...)


                PS In my experience some Scottish Landlords are surprisingly ignorant of this whole area and don't bother to get licences in some cases (not me!). Silly as their insurance will probably be invalid if they needed a license..
                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...


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