Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) regulations
All Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), whether or not they need a licence, are subject to management regulations. Breaking the regulations is an offence which can result in unlimited fines in a magistrate's court. As an alternative to prosecution, local authorities can now issue civil penalty notices of up to £30,000 per offence.
The manager has a duty to:
- supply information: the name, address and a contact phone number for the manager must be supplied to each household and clearly displayed in a prominent position within the HMO
- maintain fire safety measures: all escape routes must be kept safe and free from obstruction (alarms, detection and firefighting equipment must be maintained in good working order)
- protect occupiers from injury: apart from a general duty to maintain the structure, appropriate safeguards must be provided and maintained for roofs, balconies and low window sills
- maintain water supply and drainage: all services and fittings shall be maintained in good, clean working order and free from frost damage (the manager must not unreasonably cause or permit the water or drainage supply to be interrupted)
- ensure any gas appliances at the HMO are tested annually. The fixed electrical installation must be inspected and tested at intervals of no more than five years. Gas and electrical safety certificates must be supplied to the local authority within seven days of a request. The manager must not unreasonably interrupt the gas or electric supply
- maintain common parts, fixtures, fittings and appliances: these include stairs, handrails, banisters, lighting, ventilation, gardens, yards, paths, outbuildings etc
- maintain living accommodation: each room must be kept in good repair and installations in good working order
- provide waste disposal facilities: adequate arrangements must be made for the storage and disposal of refuse and litter
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
All dwellings should be free from serious health and safety hazards.
They are assessed using the HHSRS and serious hazards are classified as category one hazards. Licensable HMOs are inspected within five years of a licence application to make sure there are no category one hazards.
HHSRS guidance for landlords and property related professionals
Landlords of all rented housing must make sure the risk from fire is minimised.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 introduced duties in relation to the common areas of HMOs and blocks of flats.
The duty is placed on the “responsible person” who is required to:
- carry out a fire risk assessment
- take action in regard to reducing the risk of fire
Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service have produced a pro forma fire risk assessment for use by landlords of small premises.
Landlords can also record tests using the Cumbria Fire and Rescue fire safety log book.
If you are a landlord and you let a property equipped with gas appliances, you have three main responsibilities:
Pipework, appliances and flues must be safe.
Gas safety checks
A 12 monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance/flue. A gas safety check will make sure gas fittings and appliances are safe to use.
A record of the annual gas safety check must be provided to your tenants within 28 days of the check being completed or to new tenants before they move in. Landlords must keep copies of the gas safety records for two years.
All installation, maintenance and safety checks need to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
The landlord's gas safety record must be provided to us within seven days of being requested.
Landlords are responsible for the safety of:
- the fixed electrical installation in their rental properties
- any electrical appliances they provide
The fixed electrical installation must be inspected and tested at intervals of no more than five years.
Furniture and furnishings
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 set the standard for the fire resistance of domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings.
Building regulations will be required where a property is changed from a single dwelling to a multi occupancy house.
The only exception is if six people or less share all common areas of the house, such as bathrooms, kitchens and reception rooms and are living as a single unit. An example of this might be shared student accommodation.
Building regulations will also be required for a variety of renovation works, including installing new plumbing and electrical works, thermal insulation and structural alterations.
Meeting building regulation standards does not imply the property meets HMO standards or is free from HHSRS hazards.
If you are submitting an application for building regulations include “HMO” in the title so we can identify the development and advise you about any specific requirements.
For further information please contact building control:
Telephone: 01539 793 331
Planning permission is required to create a new HMO which will be occupied by more than six people.
Planning permission may be required to create a HMO with six people or less. For further information please contact our development management team directly:
Telephone: 01539 733 333
If your property is within the Lake District National Park, you will need to contact its planning department:
Telephone: 01539 724 555
If your property is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, you will need to contact:
Telephone: 01969 652 349
Self contained flats which have not been converted in line with the 1991 Building Regulations and which fall within the HMO definition have their own set of management regulations:
The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007 Statutory Instrument 1903
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Energy Performance Certificates should be made available to prospective tenants by landlords in the social and private rented sectors.
Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP)
Landlords who rent out their properties on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007, must put their tenants' deposits in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme.