Shared Accommodation FAQs

We often get asked questions about shared accommodation housing (otherwise known as HMOs) situations and scenarios. Here are some questions and answers that may help you…

A house in multiple occupation, or a house of multiple occupancy. Formally an HMO is a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 household but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen.

You always need planning permission to move in and out of the Sui Generis use class, so any HMO of 7 or more people needs planning permission regardless of location.

…However, you may also need planning permission if your HMO is in the C4 class and your local authority has an Article 4 Direction.  For Wales, you will need permission to create all HMO’s.

The rules will differ depending on which part of the country you live in. Generally, in England, you will require a licence if you have 5 or more people who form more than 1 household. In Wales, generally, you will require a licence if the property is 3 or more floors and there are 5 or more people who form more than 1 household. 

There is also Selective licencing (England) and Additional licencing (Wales) which allows councils to implement further licencing requirements.  You should contact your local council to clarify the situation.

Yes. For a single person aged 10 and over the minimum size is 6.51 sqm.  For two people over 10 years occupying the same room, the minimum size is 10.22 sqm.  This is the minimum and some councils will have a different requirement so you should check with the amenity standards issued by your local council.

If you are trying to minimise the number of times you visit your property e.g. to let in contractors, then you will need to install a lockbox.  There are many types on the market but be sure to purchase a sturdy one that cannot be broken into.
There is no black and white answer to this question.  If the tenant has been difficult then you may be glad to see them leave.  You can agree to re-market their room and allow them to leave as soon as a new tenant has been secured.

This has been very topical recently.  As investors look for an advantage in the market the provision of an en-suite is an obvious direction to consider.  However, not all houses lend themselves to being converted to include an en-suite with the biggest challenge being the removal of the soil waste.  The other consideration is whether the cost of the development will still allow a profit to be made.

Having a ratio of 2 or 3 people to a bathroom is still an acceptable solution, particularly if they are well done.  The advantage of communal bathrooms or shower rooms is that they can be included within your cleaning routine.  This avoids some nasty surprises when you inspect an en-suite that has not been cleaned for several months!

Some shared houses manage to create rota’s that cover everything from cleaning to cooking and shopping.  However, in my experience these are not the norm and, in order to keep your property in a good condition, it is advisable to have a cleaner for the communal spaces.  The cleaners can also be your eyes and ears and alert you to anything that is not quite right in the property.
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