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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

HMO advice for landlords

This page is for landlords operating in Northern Ireland.  You can find advice for tenants elsewhere on our website. Private landlords in Northern Ireland can call Landlord Advice on 028 9024 5640 and choosing option 5. Lines open Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 2.30pm.

A house in multiple occupation or HMO is a type of shared housing, which is subject to additional standards and requirements.

From 1 April 2019 all HMOs in Northern Ireland must be licenced. Local councils are responsible for the HMO licensing scheme.

From 1 April 2019 all HMOs in Northern Ireland must be licenced. Local councils are responsible for the HMO licensing scheme. There are several significant changes which will impact on landlords of HMO properties. 

The definition of a House in Multiple Occupation has changed. Some properties which were previously classed as HMOs will no longer fall under the definition. 

From 1 April 2019 all HMOs in Northern Ireland must be licenced. Any HMO that is currently registered will have this registration automatically converted to a licence. You should take note of when your existing registration is due for renewal so you can apply for a licence in advance of this date.

To ensure proper management of HMOs and the safety of HMO occupants, councils can only issue a licence where they are satisfied that the owner, and any managing agent, is a fit and proper person.

The council will only grant a HMO licence if it is satisfied that the management arrangements for the property are satisfactory. As well as meeting the fit and proper person test, owners and managing agents are subject to a Code of Practice. Breaching this code could lead to losing your licence.

A shared property that is a HMO has to meet certain standards in order to get its HMO licence. A set of regulations explains the standards in detail. The standards are broken down into different areas.

The council has a number of enforcement tools available to deal with problems in HMOs. As well as a system of fixed penalty notices, the council can serve certain statutory notices on a HMO owner or manager. 

In certain circumstances, the council can revoke your HMO licence.

Certain decisions about HMOs can be appealed at County Court. There are strict time-frames for requesting an appeal and you will need a solicitor to carry out this work for you.