Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
COVID-19 HMO Guidance
As we move into the recovery stages of COVID-19, the Government guidance has been updated and we want landlords and tenants to have the latest updates and answer a few questions that they may have.
Guidance for Landlords
Non-statutory guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities in the private and social rented sectors in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been updated and is available here COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities (Opens in a New Window)
Working Safely During COVID 19 in your House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
It’s important that properties are kept in good repair and free from hazards and landlords should take appropriate action during COVID 19. Government guidance on working safely in people’s homes has been published and updated on 23 July 2020, which sets out in what circumstances it’s advised landlords or contractors can safely visit properties to carry out inspections and repairs. Read the government guidance on working safely during COVID-19 (Opens in a New Window)
The latest guidance on COVID-19 testing including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested, can be found on the government website (Opens in a New Window)
Anyone who displays symptoms of COVID-19 (or lives with someone with symptoms) can and should get a test. Essential workers have priority access to testing.
There are different approaches to testing:
- Home testing - any individual with COVID-19 symptoms for 4 days or less is eligible for a home test. More information is available on the NHS website (Opens in a New Window).
- Drive-through/walk-through testing – these are the testing sites in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire:
- Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham City Centre
- Worksop and Retford (for those living in Broxtowe)
Testing slots should be booked through the NHS Website on their ask for a coronavirus test webpage (Opens in a New Window)
What to do if in your House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) one of your tenants thinks they may have the virus.
If one of your tenants contacts you to advise you they may have the virus you should advise them to get tested and you could send them the government guidance on staying at home (Opens in New Window).
What to do if your House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has one or more tenants who have the virus -
- Undertake a risk assessment before visiting and follow the Government guidance to keep yourself and your team or workers safe
- Remember nobody can be asked to leave the HMO because of COVID-19
- Landlords are not obliged to provide alternative accommodation for tenants if others in the property contract the virus
- You could help by, for example, closing non-essential communal space where it would not be possible to maintain social distancing (e.g. small shared spaces for use by more than one household)
- You could provide extra cleaning materials
- The Government has issued specific guidance on what to do if someone in your household has contracted the virus, including self-isolating the whole household for 14 days (Opens in a New Window)
- This guidance sets out information for tenants living in shared accommodation. You may also wish to direct your tenants to Government guidance on cleanliness and hygiene for non-medical locations (Opens in a New Window)
What to do if your House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is vacant or has a vacant room to let.
Please read the guidance on moving home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) period in England (Opens in a New Window).
What is a HMO?
A house in multiple occupation is a property which:
- Has 3 or more unrelated people living there as at least 2 separate households – for example, 3 single people with their own rooms, or 2 couples each sharing a room
- In which the 3 or more people living there share the same basic amenities, such as a kitchen or bathroom
This definition not only encompasses the traditional bedsit type accommodation but also any instances where people share any facilities. In cases of student accommodation it should be noted that each student constitutes a single household, therefore shared student houses fall under the definition of a HMO.
Broxtowe Borough Council operates a mandatory HMO licensing scheme.
Landlords must get a licence if the HMO has 5 or more unrelated people live in it who from 2 or more separate households.
HMOs don't need to be licensed if they are managed or owned by a housing association or co-operative, a council, a health service or a police or fire authority or if the HMO does not meet the threshold for requiring a licence. However, all HMOs need to comply with the rules and regulations of HMOs. Advice is available on the Shelter website.