Select Page

New Regulations for HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy)

With effect from 1 October 2018, mandatory licensing of HMOs (House of multiple occupancy) has been extended so that smaller properties used as HMOs in England require a licence.

Under the Housing Act 2004, larger HMOs that are 3 or more storeys and occupied by 5 or more persons forming at least 2 separate households are required to be licensed.

New mandatory conditions to be included in licences have also been introduced, prescribing national minimum sizes for rooms used as sleeping accommodation and requiring landlords to adhere to council refuse schemes.

Your home is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:

  • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

Your home is a large HMO if both of the following apply:

  • at least 5 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

A household is either a single person or members of the same family who live together. A family includes people who are:

  • married or living together – including people in same-sex relationships
  • relatives or half-relatives, for example, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
  • step-parents and step-children

If you live in a large HMO, your landlord must meet certain standards and obligations. Find out more about HMOs from Shelter.

Contact your local council to report hazards in your HMO. The council is responsible for enforcing HMO standards and can make a landlord take action to correct any problems.

Reclaim rent

All large HMOs need a licence from the local council.

You may be able to apply to a tribunal to reclaim some of your rent if your landlord has been prosecuted by the council for running an unlicensed HMO.

Understanding your obligations can be tricky as they cover things like condition and repairs, paperwork, administration and safety.

Fire safety

To help ensure that a property is safe for the tenants to live in, the (Fire Safety Order 2005 (FSO), places certain legal obligations and duties on the responsible person.

One of these duties is to ensure that a fire risk assessment is undertaken in all common areas of the property, including shared hallways and corridors, stairways and entrances/exits.

The ‘Responsible person’ is “the person who has control of the premises in connection with the carrying on of a trade, business or other undertakings”.
In practice, this will usually be the landlord, but in the case of absentee landlords where the “carrying on of the business” is undertaken by a managing agent, it may be the managing agent.

An individual fire risk assessment must be carried out on each property that is NOT a single private dwelling. For help in determining if your property is subject to the FSO and therefore requires a fire risk assessment, please contact us.

The risk assessment should comprise of 5 key stages:

  1. Identify the fire risks (e.g. furnishings, blocked stairways or faulty electrics).
  2. Consider who is at risk (e.g. the tenants and their visitors).
  3. Implement appropriate control measures (e.g. improving escape routes, installing smoke detectors, alarms, etc.).
  4. Record the findings of the risk assessment.
  5. Review and update the risk assessment regularly (e.g. when a new tenant moves in or if the building is altered in any way etc.)

Landlords should also use appropriate fire safety signage to help tenants know what to do in case of fire. This includes signs indicating the location of fire exits, assembly points, fire alarms, extinguishers and any other fire-fighting equipment.

Signage must be clear and understandable by everyone living in the building.

Place a Fire Action Notice detailing the actions to be taken in case of fire in a common part of the building, such as the entrance hall.

Fire-fighting equipment: In order to provide a facility for extinguishing small fires in their early stages, a simple multi-purpose extinguisher is recommended on each floor in the common parts of HMOs and buildings containing flats. It will not usually be practical to train tenants in the use of these, but basic advice should be offered at the start of each new tenancy.

Whether you require a simple assessment of the communal areas of a building or a full fire risk assessment of premises under your control (commercial, industrial or domestic) we have the skills, knowledge and expertise to help.

All assessments are undertaken by qualified health and safety professionals who offer independent, impartial comment as we don’t sell fire extinguishers or install alarm systems.  We work with a wide variety of businesses/organisations and look holistically at fire safety taking into account the premises, its activities and those working, residing in or visiting them.

Post-assessment we are able to provide on-going support, advice and comment and answer any questions you might have.

After an initial conversation where we will explore your needs, we’ll provide a fixed price quotation before visiting the premises to undertake a fire risk assessment.  Visits to properties can be accompanied, alternatively, we’ll make the necessary arrangements to gain access.  In most cases, there is no need to gain access to domestic tenant occupied areas of a property.

When undertaking a fire risk assessment we’ll walk around all areas of the premises (including outside storage/parking etc.)   We’ll speak with the responsible person, or members of staff if on-site, and finally examine a variety of fire safety related documentation.  We’ll also (with your permission) take a series of photos which help explain our findings.  These can be particularly useful when visits are unaccompanied or during discussions after the assessment.

The latter includes servicing, maintenance and electrical safety records.  Where these aren’t available or not easily accessible we’ll ask you to confirm by way of a declaration that necessary checks and tests are in place.

Whatever your Health and Safety needs, give us a call today 0117 958 2070 or e-mail us