HMO Consultancy

We provide Invaluable consultancy services to landlords / investors if you looking to venture in the ( HMO ) House of multiple occupation sector. To guide you through all the processes , and regulations that is involved with in HMOs , and licensing procedures.

 

What is an HMO property.

 
A HMO is a house occupied by more than 2 qualifying persons, being persons who are not all members of the same family.
A “qualifying person” is a person whose only or principal place of residence is the HMO. A student’s term time accommodation is regarded as the student’s only or principal place of residence while he/she is living there.

You are considered to be a member of the same family if you are the spouse (or you live together as husband and wife), civil partner (or you live together as if you are civil partners), parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother/sister, uncle/aunt, nephew/niece of the other person.

Exemptions

The following categories are exempt from registration:
  • any HMO which is occupied by persons who comprise no more than two families
  • any HMO which is occupied by no more than two persons in addition to the owner (or owners) and members of the family (or families) of owner(s).

HMO property types

The statutory definition from the 1992 Order applies to a broad range of different properties which, by their nature, carry specific risks and responsibilities in terms of health and safety, particularly fire safety.
For operational purposes we have adopted the classification described in the Environmental Health Officers’ professional practice notes. These are as follows:
 
Category Property type Description
Category A Flatlets & Bedsits Some sharing of amenities - usually a bathroom/wc
Category B Shared Houses
Normally students.
All facilities usually shared
Category C Lodgings Meals provided
Category D
Hostels, B&B,
Guesthouses
Where people live as their main home, not just visiting
Category E Residential homes  
Category F Self-contained flats (created by conversion)

Houses in Multiple Occupation  (HMOs).

Fire door and other standards, owners and managers should be aware of.

  • Fire doors
  • Existing house doors and frames can be upgraded to provide improved fire resistance, but these doors cannot be guaranteed to hold back fire for 30 minutes.  Purpose made 30 minute fire-resisting doors can be hung in existing frames, but the problem here is in many cases the frame may be twisted or warped or the frame itself is not thick enough to support the weight of a heavier fire door. Wherever  practical, it is strongly recommended that purpose made fire door sets which include both the door and frame are installed. The maximum gap between the edge of the door and frame should not exceed 3mm (the thickness of a £1 coin).
  • All fire door sets should include Intumescent Strips notched into either the edge of the door or the frame. The diagram below shows the Intumescent Strip notched into the frame.  The diagram also shows the minimum dimensions to which fire door sets should comply.
  • INT Strip DiagIntumescent strips only are required for fire doors to rooms which either smoke detection only or no smoke detection at all. ( e.g. bedrooms)Intumescent strips incorporating cold smoke seals (brushes) will be required for any room containing a heat detector (usually kitchens and shared living rooms).
  • Any self- closing device must be of a suitable design to ensure the fire door closes effectively against its hinges. “Rising butt” or “garden gate springs” are not acceptable.Any final exit and bedroom door which is lockable, must be fitted with a lock of the type which can be opened at any time without the use of a key (e.g. a “turn bolt”).

All Electrical Works to any fire alarm system, emergency lighting installation or other general work must be certified in writing that the work is in compliance with the current edition of the Institute of Electrical Engineers Regulations ( IEE Regs, currently 17th edition). The contractor undertaking the works should be NICEIC, NAPIT, ECA or equivalent authorised.

 

  • Gas safety
  • All gas appliances be tested annually and certified as safe by a Gas Safe engineer and the current certificate made available for the occupants or displayed in a prominent position within the building.
  • The gas heating and hot water system should operable at all reasonable times for the comfort of the occupier and not unreasonable limited by the landlord or manager.

 

  • Health and safety

 

  • All private rented properties (which includes HMOs), should be free of Category 1 safety hazards.There are 29 hazards specified in the Legislation, which apart from fire, gas and electrical safety include hazards such as falls, excessive cold, damp and mould, security, pests and so on. I can provide further advice on this subject.
  • Excessive cold. The property should be free of the Category 1 hazard for excessive cold,  that is the house should be warm and well insulated and occupied at an affordable cost to the tenant(s). All rented properties are by now required to be assessed by a competent surveyor and be given an Energy Performance Certificate  (EPC). This provides the property with a band rating between “A” and “G”. If a property is in the band “D” or upwards it will be deemed to be free of the hazard for excess cold.  I have the contact details of an EPC assessor if you need a survey carrying out.

 

  • The HMO Management Regulations

 

  • All HMOs are subject to the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. Put simply, this means that the manager of an HMO, who can be either the owner or managing agent, is responsible to ensure that the property is properly run, well ordered and kept in a good state of repair and maintenance. This also extends to ensuring that the occupiers or visitors to the property are not responsible for antisocial behaviour which annoys the neighbours.  

 

 

These are the main issues (but there are more!), that owners of HMOs need to be aware of in respect of current Legislation. If you need any further advice, please do not hesitate to contact me.