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Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

Your HMO landlord's responsibilities

Your landlord's responsibilities depend on how many other people you share with and if the HMO you live in must be licensed by the council.

Repairs and safety

Landlords are always responsible for certain repairs.

This includes fixing faulty electrical wires, problems with the pipework or heating.

If you share your home with 4 or more people, your landlord must also make sure that:

  • there are enough rubbish bins

  • the property is not overcrowded

  • electrics are checked every 5 years

  • gas safety checks are done every year

  • shared areas and facilities are clean and in good repair

  • fire safety measures are in place, including working smoke alarms

  • there are enough facilities for cooking and washing

Check with your local council if these rules apply to smaller HMOs in your area. If they do, your landlord might have additional responsibilities even if you share your home with fewer than 4 other people.

Minimum bedroom sizes

If your landlord needs an HMO licence, the bedroom sizes in your home must be at least:

  • 4.64 square metres for a child under 10 years old

  • 6.51 square metres for a person aged 10 or over

  • 10.22 square metres for 2 people aged 10 or over

Your council could have higher standards for bedroom sizes.

The council can give your landlord time to meet these rules or reduce the number of renters in the property.

Use the BBC Bitesize guide to work out the bedroom sizes.

Shared areas

Your landlord is responsible for maintaining and repairing shared areas if you have tenancy agreements for separate rooms.

Your landlord should be reasonable about when and how often they come to your home.

Find out what to do if your landlord comes round too often.

Council tax

Your landlord is usually responsible for council tax if you live in a HMO.

They could try to increase your rent or insert a clause into your agreement to cover the cost of council tax.

Contact your local council if you're unsure who should pay council tax.

Written contract

Your landlord must give you a written tenancy agreement if you share your home with at least 4 other people.

Some councils require landlords of all HMOs to give written tenancy agreements. Contact the council if you're unsure.

How to complain about an HMO landlord

Contact your council's environmental health department if your HMO is not up to standard.

Councils use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to check your home.

They can prosecute landlords who do not follow HMO rules.

Problems with housemates?

Your landlord does not have to get involved if there is a disagreement between renters.

Find out what you can do if you're experiencing problems with housemates.

Last updated: 7 April 2024

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