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Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

Chapter 2: Suitability for Numbers in Occupation
Section 50: Suitability notice

This section makes arrangements about HMO suitability notices. Such a notice can be served in relation to any HMO which the local authority considers is not reasonably fit for occupation by the number of persons occupying it.

Section 51: Contents of suitability notice

Section 51 directs that a suitability notice must specify what the council considers to be the maximum number of persons by whom the HMO is suitable to be occupied. A suitability notice must contain either the general occupancy requirement or the new residents’ occupancy requirement.  It may also contain a statement of remedial work.

Section 52: Occupancy requirements

Section 52 sets out that the general occupancy requirement is that the person on whom the notice is served must refrain from permitting more than the maximum number of persons to occupy the HMO. As with the similar requirement in an overcrowding notice, this can have the effect of requiring the owner to reduce the occupancy of the house immediately – for example, by terminating a tenancy. The new residents’ occupancy requirement is that the person on whom the notice is served must refrain from permitting any new resident to occupy the HMO if that person’s occupation results in the HMO being occupied by more than the maximum number of persons.  This can be used where the council considers that, although the accommodation is unsuitable for its current number of occupants, the balance lies in favour of letting the current situation remain (rather than requiring the immediate departure of one or more residents).

Section 53: Statement of remedial work

Section 53 sets out that a statement of remedial work is a statement of work which the owner of the HMO may undertake and which, if done, will lead to the lifting of the suitability notice.  Although the owner is not required to carry out the work, they can choose to do so as an alternative to having the restriction on occupancy imposed by the suitability notice.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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