Are you up to date on HMO regulations for your Exeter property?

20th February 2019

Kim McDonald Gilbert Stephens Solicitors

In recent months, there have been several changes to the law regarding letting Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO). A HMO property is described as a house that is occupied by at least three tenants, forming more than one “household”, who share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facility.

As of 1st October 2018, if your property is occupied by five or more persons and the property is a HMO, it falls under mandatory HMO requirements and therefore requires a licence.

Previously, the property also needed three-storeys in order to qualify for licencing, but this requirement has now been removed.

The new regulations also brought additional requirements relating to minimum room sizes, which apply to all HMO’s in Exeter, whether or not they require a licence. These requirements stipulate minimum floor areas for rooms depending on the age and number of occupants, as well as necessitating that any room in a HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64 square metres is not used as sleeping accommodation.

Interestingly, the floor area can only be counted where the ceiling height is at least 1.5 metres – something to bear in mind for older, rural or otherwise less standard buildings.

These conditions do not currently apply to HMO’s that had licences issued before 1st October 2018, but the conditions will come into effect on renewal of the licence.

If you are in control of or managing a licensable HMO but have not applied for a licence or a temporary exemption, you are committing a criminal offence, so it is important to make sure you know what categories your property falls into and get the right licencing.

There are also differing regulations for renting HMO’s compared to single occupancy dwellings, including provision of fire extinguishers depending on the size of the house, and it is wise for landlords to regularly check that their properties remain compliant with new legislation.

If you need any help or advice regarding a HMO property, get in touch with our Property Team on 01392 424242 or email .