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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Hazards, overcrowding and suitability for HMOs

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.

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. These include

  • a hazard notice, if the property includes certain hazards likely to cause harm to the occupants;
  • an overcrowding notice, if the property is overcrowded or is likely to become overcrowded;
  • a notice requiring further information relating to overcrowding;
  • a suitability notice, if the council believes that the property is not suitable for the number of persons occupying it.

Your tenants can ask the council to inspect the HMO if they are concerned about conditions. If the council finds a hazard, you may be served with a hazard notice. You can be issued with a fixed penalty notice for £5,000 if you let the HMO be used when it is subject to a hazard notice.

You should make sure that your HMO does not become overcrowded. Overcrowding is a serious offence, and you can be issued with an overcrowding notice if the council believes your HMO is or is likely to become overcrowded. There are two different standards used to work out how many people can live in a HMO property.

The council can issue a suitability notice if it believes that the HMO is not suitable for the number or type of occupants.