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Management of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

A number of duties are placed on the manager of a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Breaking the regulations is an offence which can be punished by a fine of up to £5000 for each breach.

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)
  • supply and maintain gas and electricity: all gas appliances must be 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

Fire safety

Landlords of all rented housing must make sure the risk from fire is minimised.

We have adopted the LACORS national guidance document 'Housing - Fire safety' which has information on fire safety standards.   

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 introduced duties in relation to the common areas of some 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 which landlords can use to carry out a fire risk assessment of their property. There is also a log book for recording tests.

Gas safety

If you are a landlord and you let a property equipped with gas appliances, you have three main responsibilities:

Maintenance

Pipework, appliances and flues must be safe. 

Appliances should be serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If these are not available, it is recommended they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

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.

Record  

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.

A guide to landlords' duties: gas safety

Electrical safety

Landlords are responsible for the safety of:

  • the fixed electrical installation in their rental properties
  • any electrical appliances they provide

A landlord’s guide to electrical safety

Furniture and furnishings

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 set the standard for the fire resistance of domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings. 

More information on regulations

The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006, Statutory Instrument no 372

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