HMO Rules, Regulations and Legislation
I want to talk about the rules, regulations and legislation of Hmos in this article as it’s something that’s really important if you’re interested in Hmos.
You need to understand the rules and legislations of Hmos because many people tend to get confused on the difference between planning permission licensing and article 4 selective licensing as they get it all mixed up and they don’t know whether they need a license or not.
In order to buy a house and turn it into a Hmo you need to make sure that it’s legally binding to the laws in your area.
Do you need a Hmo license?
Well, it depends on the size of the Hmo. If the Hmo has got five or more people that are going to be living in, you are generally going to need a license for that property.
This isn’t always the case because it depends on the area as there are some areas like Oxford for example that require a license even if there are only four people in the Hmo.
However, the rule of thumb across the board is that, if there are five or more people in the Hmo, then you’re going to need a license but if there are just four people, you will not need a Hmo license.
Always check on the council’s website to see what the rules are in each area because it can vary.
How do you get a Hmo license?
You can apply for the license on the council website.
As soon as you’ve applied for the license, you can start renting out the rooms as you don’t have to wait to get the license. The cost depends but in most cases, it’s around a thousand pounds to get the license and this will last for up to five years.
The house needs to be appropriate as you also don’t need to be an appropriate landlord or have any necessary experience to get the license. You however, can’t be a criminal.
Speak to the council as you can actually get them to sometimes do it for free or charge a nominal fee to come out to the house before you buy it and tell you if it’s appropriate for the license or not.
I’d recommend if you do plan on getting a Hmo that’s licensed, get the council to come and visit beforehand and read on the council’s website on the requirements that a licensed Hmo in that area needs.
Do you need planning permission to turn a property into a Hmo?
This is entirely different from licensing and people get so mixed up between the two more than often.
Some areas have got selective licensing which means that you need a license to just own any property at all such as if you wanted to be a landlord in wales or to buy a house and rent it out even to just one person, you need a license.
Selective licensing is in different areas since it’s not in every region and might cost you anywhere from 400 pounds which will last you for five years.
Unless there’s article 4 in the area, you do not need planning permission to turn a property into a Hmo.
If you’re buying a property and you’re going to be turning it from a family home into a seven bed Hmo, you’re going to need planning permission because it’s a complete change of use and so if you’re changing the way that the property is being used, you need a planning permission.
Most councils would say that, turning a three-bed family home into a four-bed Hmo is not really that big of a change of use because you’re just renting it out room by room.
You can again do this with your council as you’re going to put a pre-planning application in to see the likelihood as you can just call the council and inform them of your situation to get a bit of an idea whether you’re going to be able to get the planning permission.
This is something that can be a bit of a process sometimes as the council can battle you on things.
What I’ve done in most cases is just stuck to six bed Hmos because six beds is the sweet spot since you don’t need any planning permission and only the license.
If there’s article four in an area which is a direction that the council put into place in certain areas, which mean that you need planning permission which is separate from licensing planning permission to turn any property into a multi-let.
Even if it’s only a three-bed Hmo, that doesn’t matter because you need the planning permission in such areas.
I would suggest if your area is in the article 4 region, either buy existing Hmos and then just modernize them or move into an area without the article 4.
This might sound really complicated as you might be thinking that it is crazy due to the many rules and legislation but the great thing about the rules and legislation is that it keeps the cowboys away and not that complicated when you understand it.
Because Hmos are already regulated, I don’t think they’re going to get any more regulated and so we can just buy Hmos with confidence knowing that when we buy them, it’s a strategy that’s got longevity even during recessions since Hmos are pretty recession-proof due to the fact that people can’t afford houses and want to rent rooms.
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