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Things to consider when setting up an HMO in London

At My Cosy Homes we are passionate about investing in property.

If you are looking at HMOs as a possible strategy, here is an overview of things to consider;

There are currently 2 types of HMO Licensing schemes in operation within the UK:

  • Mandatory Licensing - Only for HMOs that are occupied by 5 or more persons and in which tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities. This is applicable across the UK.

  • Additional Licensing - Lewisham operate an Additional Licensing scheme for HMO properties above commercial premises - meaning that an HMO of any size above a commercial premises will need to obtain a License

Please be aware, every borough in London has slightly different rules when it comes to HMO’s, so it is always best to check with your local authorities to see if there are any additional requirements that may apply to you.

This is Lewisham HMO list as it one of our investment areas and we know the borough very well:

1. Before applying for HMO planning permission, you must ensure that the bedrooms of your property are of an adequate size. The guidance is that a single room has to be more than 6.51sqm and a double room occupied by two adults over 10.22sqm. This is vital - if your prospect HMO doesn’t meet the criteria, you won’t get the licence.

2. You will need planning permission if you are changing an existing property from a single-family property to a HMO. A definition of a HMO is a house of multiple occupancy where 3 or more unrelated people share one property that would include sharing of bathrooms, toilets and kitchen facilities.

3. You must apply for a licence, but at present only large HMO need to be licenced (5 or more people who are sharing). I do believe that this is generalised, it is best to check with local council if your HMO needs a licence. For example in Greenwich, the neighbouring borough, you will need a licence if there are 3 or more occupants.

How much does it cost? An average fee in Lewisham costs £500 per room. Once you get your licence, it is valid for 5 years.

Before you take the full leap with HMO’s you will also need to make sure that a few other conditions are met. You will need to;

• Send the council an updated gas safety certificate every year

• Install and maintain working smoke alarms

• Provide safety certificates for all electrical appliances when requested

• Install Fire Doors on all rooms, including the kitchen

• Ensure there is 1 Bathroom / Shower room for every 5 sharers

• Ensure there is 1 Kitchen for every 5 sharers (This must include multiple sets of facilities such as oven, sinks, etc. within 1 Kitchen space may be adequate for over 5 people)

• Location of Kitchen should not be more than 1 floor away from any rooms occupied by the persons for whom they are provided (exceptions can be made where there is adequate dining space in the kitchen)

• Ensure electrical equipment and furniture are kept in safe condition

• Ensure a Written Statement of the terms of the License is supplied to all tenants

• Ensure safe means for escape from Fire, area must be kept free from obstruction and maintained in good repair

• Ensure water supply and drainage are kept in good, clean working condition

• Always provide the Manager's Name, Address and Contact telephone number, this should be made available to each occupant (usually on display in a communal area)

• Finally, the council or your local authorities may add other conditions to your licence i.e. provide standard of your facilities, but they will let you know when you apply.

If you would like further advice on your HMO rules, call us now!

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