Houses in multiple occupation
A house in multiple occupation is a property rented out by at least 3 people who do not form one 'household', eg a family, but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen.
There are around 2000 HMOs in Swansea, many of which are located in the two central wards of Castle and Uplands.
In order for a property to be an HMO it must be used as the tenants' only or main residence and it should be used solely or mainly to house tenants. Properties let to students and migrant workers are treated as their only or main residence. This also applies to properties which are used as domestic refuges.
What conditions apply to HMOs?
Some HMOs need to be licensed. Even if the HMO does not need a licence landlords should still maintain the house and make sure it is a safe environment for the tenants to live in.
There are fire safety requirements that need to be met. Extra requirements like fire doors, half an hour separation between rooms, fire alarm systems and fire extinguishers may also be required in some HMOs.
There should also be suitable kitchen and bathroom facilities.
What about HMOs that don't meet the standards?
If you are a tenant living in an HMO you should always try and resolve any problems with the landlord or manager first. They should deal with necessary repairs or maintenance and they also have to meet regulations about how the property is managed.
If your landlord or manager has not fixed the problem then you can contact us for help and advice. Depending on your problem we may inspect the property and could serve an enforcement notice on the landlord or manager. This will require them to do the work within a certain time period.
If you're a student you may also find that the Students' Union or Advice Centre may by able to help you, especially if your query is about your tenancy agreement. Make sure that you're happy with the property and the contents of your tenancy agreement before you sign.
If you live in an HMO then you should look after the property and anything provided for your safety, like fire alarms and extinguishers. Don't prop fire doors open and make sure you keep the place clean and tidy. Put your rubbish and recycling out on the correct days in the correct coloured bags.
If your landlord or manager makes an appointment to come and check the property, make sure you keep it or let them know in plenty of time if you need to change the time or date. That's the same advice for any appointments that council officers make to come and inspect the property.
What about converting a property to an HMO?
If you own, or are thinking of buying, a property and are proposing to convert it to an HMO we offer an advisory service.
You can find out more and apply online on our HMO advisory service page.
Under the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, shared houses with three or more occupiers or properties converted into flats or bedsits need individual planning consent. For further information please contact Planning.
You may also need building regulations approval and you will need to seek advice from the relevant officers
If the HMO is licensable you will still need to apply for an HMO licence.