Houses of Multiple Occupancy - When is a Storey Not a Storey

Houses of Multiple Occupancy – When is a Storey Not a Storey?

The definition of what comprises a storey of a building was to be found in the following case heard at the High Court and landlords of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) should heed the decision to avoid prosecution.

Under section 55 of the Housing Act 2004, a license is necessary if a property that was lived in by several tenants covered more than two storeys of the building. In this case it was a maisonette. The magistrates found in favour of the landlord and dismissed the local authority’s case.

The local authority pursued the case because the maisonette was on the second and third floor of the building and to access it the tenants had to use the entrance and first floor landing, it argued that this made it a four storey building which would need a license.

The landlord argued that it was unacceptable to portray the entrance and landing as storeys as it would give the wrong impression to future tenants or purchasers. The Court agreed and dismissed the local authority’s claim. It acknowledged that the entrance and landing formed part of the building but they were not living accommodation, people passed through those spaces and were not part of the maisonette.

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