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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Houses in multiple occupation

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

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.

A house in multiple occupation, or HMO, is a particular type of rented housing. HMOs are shared housing, and might be used by students, single people, young workers and people newly arrived in Northern Ireland.

These properties must be licensed. They must also meet extra safety standards.

Your HMO manager must look after the property and your tenancy in accordance with a code of practice. The code of practice makes the HMO manager responsible for a number of 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. 

People have a variety of reasons for renting shared accommodation. You may not be able to afford a home of your own, due to benefit restrictions or general affordability issues or you may not want to live alone.

All HMO properties must be licensed. Before a licence is granted, the council has to be satisfied that the property is suitable for the number of people who will be living in it and that the person who will be managing the property is “fit and proper”.

Sharing arrangements don't always work out. If you're having problems with your flatmates, don't ignore the issue. Try to resolve the situation.

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.

There are a number of places you can find advertisements for rooms in shared properties. It’s very difficult to get out of a tenancy agreement once you’ve signed a contract so you should make sure that you’re happy with the accommodation and your flatmates before you sign.

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