Using UPRNs to engage with landlords and improve the quality of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) throws up many challenges for any organisation or company that’s involved in its administration, billing, or maintenance. This includes local authorities that want to support and engage with landlords in the private sector.
When the Housing Act (2004) came into force, it introduced a mandatory licensing system for larger HMOs – buildings providing homes to 5 or more occupants. The Act lets local authorities introduce additional licensing, as well as selective licensing or ‘under other legislative provisions’ licensing if necessary, to ensure those buildings are fit for purpose and, over time, to help collaborate and improve general living standards for residents. The act also covers other HMOs and privately rented properties.
Growth in rental properties
Hackney Council has seen huge growth in the private rented sector, which now accounts for around 30% of all properties. It’s an area that’s densely populated with many HMO of various sizes. However, with such a demand for housing, and general increases in rental costs, some residents find that their only choice is a rental property that’s in less-than-ideal condition or disrepair.
Research commissioned by the council showed that around 11% of private renters in the Hackney area were experiencing serious hazards such as leaking roofs, dangerous, boilers, exposed wiring and vermin infestations. In three specific wards, the research showed that these instances increased to affect around 20% of tenants.
Hackney is committed to improving the situation. The Housing Act (2004) legislation impacts 16% of the local authority’s HMOs and the Borough Council wanted to engage with those landlords proactively, to ‘create a more professional rented sector’ and – on behalf of residents – to target any rogue landlords who were failing to provide a good, safe home for their tenants.
Using the Local Land and Property Gazetteer to identify HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation)
HMOs are an important form of accommodation. A building is classed as an HMO if it is let as a main or only home to at least three tenants forming more than one household. Large or small, they share facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. HMOs with five or more tenants require a licence.