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Different types of housing

Tuesday 3 February 2015 Renting A Home

If you are coming through clearing, your university or college doesn’t have any accommodation of its own, or you are returning to university or college then you may be looking at renting privately.

In different areas and in different circumstances you will need to start looking at different times. Get in touch with your students’ union or accommodation office to find out about the options in your area.

Remember, in many areas there is a surplus of housing you can chose from. So don’t feel pressured or panicked into signing up for the first house you see. Even if you are in an area with a housing shortage, it’s vital you take time at the beginning of the house hunting process to get organised and think about what your priorities are.

Your students’ union may run housing fairs, events or one to one advice on housing issues so do speak with them as they will have lots of experience and knowledge of local housing.

Lots of students live in ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation’ (HMOs). HMOs are rented properties shared by three or more people, where at least two people are not related.

Landlords renting out HMOs must meet certain physical, safety and management standards.

Landlords must obtain an HMO licence from the council (or a registration certificate from the Housing Executive in Northern Ireland) to ensure these standards are met. 

Which HMOs need a licence?

In England and Wales, licences are required where five or more unrelated people are sharing a property that has three or more floors.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, licences are required where three or more unrelated people are sharing.

Some councils also have additional licensing requirements in certain areas.

How to check if your landlord has an HMO licence:

If you are thinking of renting a shared house, ask the landlord to show you an HMO licence where one is required. 

You can also check the council’s HMO register to see if a property is licensed.

If the property doesn’t have a licence, take this a serious warning sign.  Landlords can be prosecuted and fined for renting out unlicensed HMOs.

For more information about HMOs