HMO Legislation, Regulations and Requirements

Managing a house of multiple occupation can certainly keep you on your toes at times. We are not just talking about the general day-to-day stuff, such as making sure the cleaner turns up and all the appliances are working. No, there is also the work involved in making sure you are complying with all the necessary legal HMO requirements and legislation.

Some of the main HMO Guidelines are right here:

When you need a HMO Licence

A large HMO (5 or more unrelated individuals sharing facilities) will always require a license. This varies in cost, depending on your local authority.

In some area’s local authorities may have additional licensing requirements meaning a license is also necessary for small HMO’s (with 3 or more).

In some places, the councils may also operate a selective licensing scheme where all rented properties within a specific geographic location must be licensed.

It is always best to check with your local council before setting up your HMO.

The management of Houses in multiple occupation Regulations 2006

Landlords (or whoever is managing the property) must provide their contact details to the tenants.

Other statutory HMO standards they must adhere to are:

  • Ensuring fire equipment is maintained and regular fire drills carried out, in keeping with the HMO Fire safety regulations. Larger HMOS’s must have a fire safety door and fire blanket in the kitchen. Locks should also be the Thumb turn variety and fire alarms fitted on every floor. – Every room Co2 detectors should be installed in any room with an open fire or combustion appliance ( ie boiler)
  • Annual gas safety checks
  • EICR – Every 5 years
  • Ensuring all furniture is fire safe
  • Ensuring waste dealt with appropriately
  • Carry out regular repairs to property when necessary and ensuring lighting in hallway and communal areas is adequate

HMO Furniture and Furnishings regulation

All fabric and furnishings should comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (fire) (safety) regulations 1988 in terms of being fore resistant. This does exclude curtains, bedclothes and carpets.

Fitness for Human habitation

Under section 10 of the housing act, HMO landlords must ensure that their property is fit for renting out. It must be in good repair, I.E furniture and fixings are not broken, no damp, the building gets enough natural daylight and has good ventilation and the water supply is in working order.

Toilet and cooking facilities should also be in working order.

HMO Minimum Room Size Regulation

There are minimum room sizes for HMO’S  – a bedroom for an adult must be at least 6.51 square meters or 10.22 square meters to be a double room.

HMO Electrical Safety inspection/report

All electrical equipment must be tested every 5 years in line with the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rental Sector (England) Regulations 2020. Sockets, light fittings and appliances must all be working and a certificate issues and given to the tenants stating this.

Tenancy Deposit Protection

Landlords must register a tenants deposit with an accredited tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of receipt.  A landlord must also provide in writing to the tenant information regarding the deposit protection scheme used within 30 days.

How to rent guide

All new tenants should be given a current hot to rent guide issued by the government. This is not an HMO Compliance rule however it will help you later if you need to apply for eviction procedures.

Tenant Fees Act 2019

This is an important piece of HMO Compliance that all landlords need to know. It states that a tenants deposit can be no more than 5 weeks rent (unless the rent is more than £50,000 annually when you can take 6 weeks). A holding deposit can only be the equivalent of 1 weeks rent.

You can only charge a tenant for certain expenses such as key replacement or utility costs.

Charging for inventories or referencing is banned and you could face fines of up to £5,000 so it is vital to be on top of the HMO Requirements.