Legal minimum standards
The following are the legal minimum standards for all Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s), whether they need to be licensed or not:
- An adequate means of space heating must be provided in each letting and in bathrooms, whether shared or not
- Kitchens and bathrooms must be adequately ventilated, including extractor fans in kitchens
- Kitchens, bathrooms and toilets must be of adequate size and layout and be suitably located in the HMO in relation to the lettings
- All baths, showers, wash hand basins and sinks must be fitted with taps supplying cold water and a constant supply of hot water
- For up to four occupiers, there must be at least one bathroom and toilet (which can be in the bathroom). This has been amended by Statutory Instrument 2007 No 1903 to say that there must be an adequate number of bathrooms, toilets and wash hand basins for personal washing for the number of persons sharing those facilities, and where reasonably practicable there must be a wash hand basin with appropriate splash back in each unit.
- For five or more occupiers, there must be at least one bathroom for every five sharers, and a separate toilet for every five sharers. This has been amended by Statutory Instrument 2007 No 1903 to say that there must be an adequate number of bathrooms, toilets and wash hand basins for personal washing for the number of persons sharing those facilities, and where reasonably practicable there must be a wash hand basin with appropriate splash back in each unit.
- Adequate size and layout kitchen for the number of sharers, containing sinks with draining boards, cooking equipment, worktops, storage cupboards, for food and crockery and utensils, fridge/freezers (combined or separate), and electrical sockets
- Adequate refuse disposal facilities
- Adequate fire precautions including fire doors and fire blankets as appropriate
We use a set of recommended standards which will satisfy these legal requirements. Officers will also assess the property against the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and will take the appropriate enforcement action to ensure any deficiencies are rectified.
Detailed requirements - Shared facilities
The normally accepted standard is a central heating system (preferably gas fired), or fixed heaters (electric heaters should be hard wired, not plugged into the room sockets). Portable electric fires, convector heaters or oil filled radiators, gas cylinder powered heaters or paraffin heaters are not acceptable.
Consideration must also be given to the affordability of the heating source for the tenants.
The Gas and Electric meters supplying the property must NOT be pre-payment meters. The utility bills will be in the landlords name and paid for by them. This is to prevent any potential break in the utilities’ services.
Letting rooms should be not less than 10 metre square for a single letting, which can be reduced to 7 metre square, if there is a communal lounge. Double rooms should be 15 metre square and 11 metre square respectively.
Natural light and ventilation
Clear glazing equivalent in area to 10% of the floor area of the room should be provided in each letting. Openable windows equivalent in area to 5% of the floor area of the room should be provided in each letting. Doors to open air cannot be included in the reckoning.
Fire safety provisions and equipment should be provided as appropriate to the accommodation in line with the fire safety in the home recommendations.
The management regulations are applicable to all HMOs, whether or not they are licensed.
These regulations place duties on the manager to ensure matters such as fire precautions, Health and Safety, maintenance of water supplies, drainage, gas and electricity are maintained in proper working order.
The regulations also place a duty on tenants to behave in an orderly manner and not to hinder the manager in the carrying out of these duties. Anyone believed to have contravened these regulations can be issued with a financial penalty of up to £30,000 or a prosecution with an unlimited fine. Non compliance with the legislation may affect your ability to hold a licence and could result in a banning order and the Council taking over the management of the property.