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New HMO legislation

Jim rang Landlord Advice looking for some guidance on the new Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) legislation that came into effect in NI on 1st April 2019.

He has a registered HMO which is occupied by a married couple and another single tenant. The license for the property is due for renewal in two years but in light of the new legislation Jim wanted to know if he needed to do anything before that.

We explained to Jim that the new legislation includes a new licensing process that is administered by Belfast City Council.   Properties currently registered through the old registration, only need to apply for the license when renewal is due. 

We also advised Jim that one of the changes the legislation has brought in, is a change to the definition of HMO’s.   Under previous regulations a HMO was defined as a property where three or more people from two or more families lived.

The new definition is where three or more people from three or more families live in the same property. So under these circumstances Jim’s property is no longer classified as a HMO and he will not need to apply for the license. This is because the couple would be seen as one family and the other tenant would be another family, meaning only 2 families are in the property.

We let Jim know that if the make-up of the tenants in his property changed he should get back in touch for further advice.