‘Shared home’ means homes you share with people who are not your family. It can be a house or a flat. Both are sometimes called houses in multiple occupation – HMOs.
A house in multiple occupation is a home that is:
- rented out to at least 3 people who are
- not from 1 household – not from the same family – but who
- share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen
Your landlord has extra legal responsibilities if the home you rent is a house in multiple occupation – an HMO.
National licensing for shared homes
Landlords must apply for a license for every H.M.O. they rent out under a national licensing scheme.
The H.M.O license puts extra legal responsibilities on a landlord to reduce the risk of fire and to make sure that people living in shared houses or flats have decent facilities
Landlords of HMOs must make sure that:
- there are proper fire safety measures in place like working smoke detectors and
- gas safety checks are carried out every year by trained and licensed gas engineers and
- the electrics are checked every 5 years by trained and licensed electricians and
- there are enough cooking and washing facilities that are of a good standard and
- communal areas and shared facilities are clean and in good repair and
- there are enough rubbish bins and bags for all the people that live there and
- the property is not overcrowded
‘Overcrowded’ means that too many people live there for it to be safe.
Licensing in Brent
Brent Council runs an extra scheme to license all private rented homes in 3 Brent wards:
- Harlesden ward
- Wembley ward
- Willesden Green ward.
It does not matter how many people live in an HMO for this license scheme. The scheme is trying to force landlords to rent out better homes over time.