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Insurance specialist asks: Could you be an HMO landlord?

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UK landlords are being urged to check that they have not become an ‘accidental’ HMO landlord. With even professionals such as letting agents, lawyers and landlords themselves often unaware of the fact that three unrelated people living in a property may typically be classed as occupants of an HMO, these property owners could be breaking the law and facing a stiff financial penalty.

Steve Bradley, MD of one of the UK’s leading property insurance broking websites, UKinsuranceNET.com, explains: “There are genuine, law-abiding landlords who may not realise that their let property is actually classed as an HMO – meaning he or she needs to be HMO compliant and have a local authority licence, meet minimum room size requirements, and put in fire doors etc.

“In addition, landlords who have a buy to let mortgage on an HMO will need to inform their mortgage provider, as well as make sure they have specialist HMO insurance, as standard landlord insurance typically only covers one household – not several.”

Mr. Bradley adds: “Some landlords may also think their let property consists of several bedsits, when again it is actually classed as an HMO, which is completely different and needs to meet different regulations.

“Failure to meet those regulations could see even an ‘accidental’ HMO landlord face substantial fines. That is why we always recommend that landlords who are not letting to a single household in one property speak to their local authority for clarification.”

UKinsuranceNET have also produced a free guide on HMO insurance which can be requested as a download from here.