Wales politics

Coronavirus: Tenants in shared houses can form own Welsh extended households

Housemates

People living in houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) will be able to form their own extended households separate from their housemates, the Welsh Government has said.

From Monday households in Wales can join up with one other.

But Welsh Government guidance warned anyone in a HMO forming an extended household could be putting themselves and others at risk.

People should think carefully before doing so, it said.

The extended household rules are in law - the Welsh Government said anyone not complying with the rules on them could be at risk of committing a criminal offence.

Normally, a household means a group of people living in the same home, or a person living alone.

Under the extended household rules, from Monday they can team up with one other household, allowing them to stay indoors and have physical contact.

But houses of multiple occupation can be made up of separate households, all of which have their own tenancy agreements but may share facilities such as bathrooms, living rooms or kitchens.

The Welsh Government guidance said: "Each household within a HMO can enter into separate extended households".

But it added: "Because of the higher potential that coronavirus could be spread throughout the house, these households should be aware that they are potentially putting themselves and others at increased risk and they should think carefully about forming an extended household with people not living in their house."

The rule only appears to apply if everyone in the house has a separate tenancy agreement, as opposed to a group of flatmates which share one.

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Media captionTwo homes in Wales will be able to link up from Monday

NUS Wales president Becky Ricketts said the guidance "will relieve strain that lockdown has had on the mental health of many students in this position".

Individuals have to pick an arrangement and stick with it under the extended household rules - it cannot be changed later.

The guidance also stated that extended households can be cross-border.

"For example, a household in Wales can join with a household in England," it said, "but the arrangements will need to comply with the rules in both countries".

Similar arrangements are known as bubbles in other parts of the UK, although the rules differ.