Inspections of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
The Council has a proactive inspection programme of HMOs. If conditions in the properties inspected are not up to standard, the landlord or owner is required to improve them.
What is an HMO?
An HMO is a building or part of a building (such as a flat) that:
- Is occupied by more than one household which share or lack an amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facility; or
- Is occupied by more than one household and which is a converted building, but not entirely into self contained flats (whether or not some amenities are shared or lacking); or
- Is converted self contained flats, but does not meet as a minimum standard the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations, and at least one third of flats are occupied under short tenancies.
The building may be occupied by more than one household:
- As their only or main residence
- As a refuge of people escaping domestic violence
- By students during term time
- For other purposes prescribed by the Government
Persons do not form a single household unless they are members of the same family, or they form a prescribed relationship defined by regulations. A ‘household’ refers to:
- Families, including single people, couples and same sex couples
- Other relationships, such as fostering, carers and domestic staff.
The Management HMO Regulations, 2006
These apply to all HMOs in the private rented sector; including all those which do not require a licence. All properties with facilities shared by more than two households (people not in the same family) must therefore comply with these regulations.
They require the manager to provide occupiers with the name, address and telephone number of the managing agent or landlord of the house; and which must be displayed in the house.
The Regulations state that it shall be the responsibility of the manager of the HMO to ensure that the following are maintained in repair, clean condition and good order (including, where appropriate, proper working order):
Means of escape from fire
All means of escape from fire in the house and all apparatus, systems and other fire precaution equipment are to be maintained and kept free from obstruction. It shall be the responsibility of the manager to display in suitable positions in the house signs indicating all means of escape from fire in the house.
Protect occupiers from injury or accident
That reasonable precautions are taken to ensure the general safety of the residents of the house with regard to the design, structural conditions of the house and number of occupants; and to prevent access to any areas that are unsafe, including any roof, balcony or window sills that are at or near floor level.
Water supply and drainage
All means of water supply and drainage in the house are to be maintained, repaired, kept clean and be protected against frost damage. Tanks and cisterns should be clean and covered
The manager shall not unreasonably cause the supply of water or drainage to be interrupted.
Supply and maintain gas and electricity
Every fixed electrical installation must be inspected and tested at least every 5 years.
When requested be the Council the manager must supply gas appliance or fixed electrical installation test certificates within 7 days.
The manager shall not unreasonably cause the supply of gas or electricity to be interrupted.
Maintain parts and installations in common use
The manager shall also ensure that the common areas such as staircases, passageways, corridors and entrances are kept reasonably free from obstruction. All handrails and banisters and any stair coverings should be kept repaired or replaced or be provided where necessary for the safety of the residents.
All windows and other means of ventilation must be kept in good repair. The manager shall ensure that installations for lighting serving any part of the house in common use are readily available to residents, including lighting for staircases and entrances to the house, which are used by residents whether or not they are in common use.
All outbuildings, and outside areas which belong to the house and are in common use should be maintained in good clean condition. Any boundary walls, fences and railings should be kept in good repair so as not to constitute a danger to residents.
Maintain living accommodation
The manager must ensure that the properties are clean and in good repair at the time of letting and then maintained. This includes the internal structure of any part of the house used as living accommodation and all other fixtures, fittings, appliances, windows and other means of ventilation.
Provide waste disposal facilities
The manager must supply and maintain sufficient refuse and litter bins for each household. That refuse and litter are not allowed to accumulate in the house, except when pending disposal. They are also responsible for the disposal of any refuse if the local authority fails to do so
Duties of residents
Occupiers of HMOs are required to cooperate in the management of the property, and avoid nuisance and annoyance to neighbours and other occupiers. It is the duty of all residents of the property to ensure that the agent can effectively carry out his duties. All residents must:
- allow the manager access, at all reasonable times, to any occupied room, that he may carry out his duties
- provide the manager on request with any relevant information
- comply with arrangements made by the agent in respect of fire precautions or litter storage and disposal
- take care not to hinder in any way the agent in the performance of his duties
- take reasonable care to avoid damaging anything which the agent is under obligation to keep in good repair.