setting up a student HMOAt this time of year setting up a student HMO is popular, property owners may be considering creating student lets which will be available when the new term starts in the autumn.

If you’re one of them, it’s worth knowing the rules and regulations relating to houses of multiple occupation (HMOs).

What is an HMO?

An HMO is a property split into different households. In other words, rented by several people who are not living as one household unit.

Typically, this could be a house where different households rent rooms or parts of the building.

In Wales, there is a C4 planning use classification of an HMO which defines it as: “tenanted living occupation by 3 to 6 people, who are not related and who share one or more basic amenities, as their only or main residence.”

For larger HMOs with seven or more tenants, landlords may have to apply for “HMO sui generis” planning permission – meaning ‘of its own class’. Whether this needs to happen depends on how the tenants live and whether they are single household.

The HMO definition does not include blocks of flats.

Why choose an HMO?

It allows you to rent parts of your building separately and ensure maximum occupation of your property.

In a single household rental, all rooms would become available at once. In an HMO, you could stagger rentals to ensure your property doesn’t lie empty.

While some students will wish to rent as a group, others will want to rent singly or in couples.

Will you need planning permission to switch to an HMO?

Yes. Welsh councils can require landlords to get planning consent to turn their single households with no more than six residents into an HMO.

There will need to be an application for a change of use with a fee of around £380.

If you’re switching back from an HMO with up to six tenants to a single home, you may not need planning consent.


Do you need to register under Rent Smart Wales?

Yes. The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 runs alongside the Housing Act 2004 so you have to comply with both.

You must register with Rent Smart Wales, declare the address of the HMO and any other rental properties you have in Wales. For each of them, you must declare who is the agent responsible for managing and letting them.

This could be you or it could be a licensed property manager. If you’re doing it yourself, you must be licensed.

You only need one licence to manage all your Welsh properties.

Find out more about Rent Smart Wales here.

Looking for a licensed property manager in South Wales? We’re registered with Rent Smart Wales and have experienced staff who can help a landlord with an HMO. Call us today on 01495 619811.