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May 24, 2019

HMO licensing and how it affects you.

The Government confirmed that it will put an extension to mandatory licensing. From 1st October 2018 these new rules came into place, they define what an HMO (House in Multiple Occupancy) is and how it will be changing under the Housing Act 2004. This means that some electrical obligations for landlords will change.

The Government has also confirmed that there would be no grace period when these changes came into effect. It was extremely important that landlords acted to ensure that they where not caught out when the changes came into effect.


The one main change that is being made is the definition of what an HMO is. Under these new rules, a property will be classed as an HMO if it is occupied by 5 or more people which forms two or more separate households. This could be classed as a bedsit, student housing, and other shared accommodation.

Before these changes, an HMO was classed as a property that was occupied by more than 5 people which forms 2 separate households and also compromising of at least three stores. What this new change of regulations means is that any property such as a purpose-built flat with two stories is now classed as an HMO.


As a landlord there are a number of electrical safety obligations that you must abide to, this ensures that your property and electricals into the premises is safe for the tenant, these include:

  • Ensuring the electrical installation of the property is safe at the beginning and throughout the tenancy. A qualified electrician can carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) to ensure the installation within your property is safe.
  • Ensuring any appliances are safe throughout the tenancy. This can be achieved through annual portable appliance testing and ensuring all appliances purchased come with the CE marking.
  • Ensuring that a carbon monoxide alarm is fitted in all rooms that have a solid fuel burning appliance. Both smoke and CO detectors much be in working order at the start of new tenancies.

Visit Our Dedicated Page To Find Out More About Your Electrical Safety Obligations As A Landlord.

If you’re a landlord that owns an HMO property you will need to be aware of any additional electrical safety obligations such as:

  • Whilst it’s a legal obligation to ensure the electrical installation is safe in a private rented property, in an HMO, it is a legal requirement to have an EICR carried out once every five years – this inspection will need to be carried out by a qualified electrician who can provide you with a certificate following the work. Read our blog on everything you need to know about EICRs for more information.
  • Provide safety certificates for all electrical appliances when requested.
  • The rules regarding fire detection in rental and HMOs are relatively complex and depend on the number of stories, and the type of tenants and whether it includes bedsit type rooms. Full details are available on the council website at the Thanet Council website or by clicking here.

Dependant on the area you have your properties, there may be additional conditions to your HMO license and your electrical safety, these are usually defined by the local authorities and they should be contacted to clarify.

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