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AIBU

Neighbour’s house has become a HMO

(97 Posts)
MissChateline Sun 18-Oct-20 07:07:36

I live in a house which is part of a terrace. My immediate neighbour has decided to turn her 2 bedroom house into a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) and has moved a couple into the attic bed room, herself into the 2nd bedroom and yesterday a single person into her cellar which has been roughly converted into a habitable room. HMOs need a licence and are subject to serious gas, electric and other safety regulations which I know are not in place.
As yet there have not been any issues regarding noise or rubbish etc but I’m fearful that there could be problems in the future.
My neighbour and I have been reasonably cordial in the past but this deteriorated badly during lockdown and we actively avoid communicating now. I have no wish to instigate a discussion with her. However I am also aware that she is claiming benefits as well as renting out rooms in what has become an illegal HMO. For me this is wrong on so many levels.
Would you;
1. Do nothing.
2. Report the HMO breach of regulations.
3. Report the benefit fraud.
4. Report both the benefits fraud and the HMO

Ashcombe Sun 18-Oct-20 07:13:28

I think I would contact the Council about the HMO so they can check for any breach of regulations. This would ensure that all safety procedures are followed which in turn would reassure you and other neighbours, especially where fire regulations are concerned.

sue421 Sun 18-Oct-20 07:15:22

Report it.

Fecklar Sun 18-Oct-20 07:18:34

Contact the council to query if the LL been given a licence. I rented a flat then later discovered a flat below had been turned into a women feeing domestic violence residence. The LL rented rooms out instead of a flat as a whole. This was not classed as a HMO. I had so many problems from whoever was in that flat. Deliberate door slamming, being stalked by one of the tenants indoors and on my way in and out the flat up and down the stairs. Nothing came of my complaint to the council or the person who managed the building so I moved. I have heard a lot of money grabbing LLs are doing this now. Speak to the council about it. Establish all facts first before complaining.

Esspee Sun 18-Oct-20 07:26:21

4.

Hetty58 Sun 18-Oct-20 07:30:12

MissChateline, depending on your area and local authority, it may be that no licence is required. Some 'small HMOs' are exempted here. Do check with your council, though.

I'm rather concerned about the health implications of living in a cellar without proper damp proofing - also, the fire escape arrangements for the attic bedroom. Therefore, reporting things would be justified by my concern for the lodgers' safety!

If she is claiming benefits and collecting rent it's likely to amount to benefit fraud. I have a really low opinion of anyone cheating the system (and taxpayers) so I'd have no hesitation in reporting my suspicions.

You can report by phone or online to put your mind at rest.

mumofmadboys Sun 18-Oct-20 07:36:41

I would do nothing. Your relationship with your neighbour will deteriorate big time, My advice would be to keep out of it.

Hetty58 Sun 18-Oct-20 07:53:53

mumofmadboys, It's perfectly possible to report things and remain absolutely anonymous!

PamelaJ1 Sun 18-Oct-20 08:08:20

It sounds to me that she has taken in lodgers. If the attic room was a bedroom then it probably complies with building regs.
The cellar room sounds a bit dodgy though.
You can earn £7500/yr without paying tax under the rent a room scheme. I have no clue how that may or may not impact on benefits.

OceanMama Sun 18-Oct-20 08:18:40

Are they just flatmates? It wouldn't be so unusual where I am for people to rent spare bedrooms in a shared living arrangement, without it being commercial. No idea what you should do if it doesn't impact on your safety and well being.

M0nica Sun 18-Oct-20 08:21:06

Report it. The house next door may be a fire risk to the whole terrace. The same with benefits. You can report people anonymously.

Small 'flexibilities' with the law are one thing but what appears to be wholesale and flagrant floutingof , possibly, fire, HSE and other rules, put inplace to protect lives, is too common in HMOs. Benefit fraud is also unacceptable.

EllanVannin Sun 18-Oct-20 08:52:09

How can anyone realistically turn a two-bedroomed terrace into a multiple occupancy ? That in itself should ring alarm bells. No way is it viable accommodation. I would have thought that a maximum of 4 people in the property described. By law it should be fire-proofed so my guess is that permission hasn't been sought.

All sharing bathroom/kitchen facilities ?

Find out if there's an HMO licence first before reporting.
Blow the neighbour, it's people's lives at stake.

sodapop Sun 18-Oct-20 09:00:29

I would report the multiple occupancy MissChatelaine there are serious implications for a terrace row if safety regulations are not adhered to. I would not report the alleged benefit fraud even though I detest this sort of thing.

MamaCaz Sun 18-Oct-20 09:12:43

By my maths, there are only four people living in the property, so it doesn't sound like a HMO to me! On the face of it, not an excessive number of people to be living in a normal two-bedroom house and sharing facilities.

However, the suitability of the rooms being let does sound questionable, as is the owner's benefit status, but I would not rush in with the automatic assumption that she is flouting the law.

Tread carefully and query this with the local council, as others have suggested - I imagine that if she is not abiding by any rules, they will take things from there, but she might not be doing anything wrong ... .

craftyone Sun 18-Oct-20 09:18:56

old terraced houses often have an attic space that have no fire barrier, you should report this HMO. Not a million miles from here, a fire ripped through a row of terraced homes, a few days before christmas, everyone had to be re-homed and it was a miracle that no lives were lost. I would not be suprised if someone was living in the attic tbh, perhaps cooking on a camping stove

This needs reporting for safety reasons at the very least

craftyone Sun 18-Oct-20 09:22:38

I am in a new build and they built the adjacent garages with special fire-proofing in between. I doubt your neighbour has had such fire insulation built in

Missfoodlove Sun 18-Oct-20 09:24:37

Check your area does not have an article 4 restriction.
This means no HMO’s!

Toyoungtobeadamnedgran Sun 18-Oct-20 09:32:05

I would do nothing if your relationship is not on good terms would you be the first person she would point the finger at and that could possibly give you hassle you don't need.
Let someone else report it, she will probably think it's you anyway but this way your conscious will be clear.

Do you know the people she has in her home? Are they a threat to anyone or is she simply trying to help someone out in the meantime

allium Sun 18-Oct-20 09:48:26

Leave well alone unless they are bothering you.

GrandmaMoira Sun 18-Oct-20 09:51:26

I'm not sure if it is an HMO if there is a resident landlord. The room in the cellar sounds dodgy though.

EllanVannin Sun 18-Oct-20 09:55:52

Attic rooms without fire escapes ?

NotSpaghetti Sun 18-Oct-20 09:56:53

Hello,
My understanding is that an HMO has to have five or more people.

EllanVannin Sun 18-Oct-20 09:58:05

Fire doors ? I imagine thousands of places wouldn't pass these regulations. Disgraceful.

midgey Sun 18-Oct-20 09:59:10

Leave well alone. You don’t know all the facts.

NotSpaghetti Sun 18-Oct-20 10:00:09

The people living there sound like licensees to me if there are just three of them.