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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Houses in multiple occupation

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.

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.

A shared property that is a HMO has to meet certain standards in order to get its HMO license.

If you share with other people, but the property isn’t regarded as a HMO your property just has to meet the basic fitness standard that applies to all rented housing.

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.

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.

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.

If you're renting a property as part of a group, you need to pay close attention to the tenancy agreement. The wording on this agreement can control what happens if one of the group moves out. In some cases, the rest of the tenants can be made responsible for paying the extra rent as well as any rent that the former tenant hasn't paid.

As with all private tenants, you have certain responsibilities when you live in shared housing

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

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