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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

HMO

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Under the new HMO regime, HMO owners and managers must deal with anti-social behaviour much more proactively. You must have a policy or plan to deal with any anti-social behaviour caused by or affecting the people living in your HMO.

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

Your house needs to be up to certain standards before it can be rented out. You may need to ask the council to inspect your property and will have to abide by certain safety requirements.

Get advice if you are worried about problems in shared housing. If your property is a HMO, the council’s HMO unit may be able to help you.

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