Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) - advice for landlords

HMO standards

All HMOs in Bromley must comply with the local authority’s adopted standards for houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

These standards include:

  • Minimum bedroom and living room sizes.
  • The number and size of kitchens and bathrooms.
  • The maximum occupation of the HMO and each of the bedrooms within the HMO.
  • The provision of adequate fire precautions such as an automated fire alarm system, emergency lighting and fire doors.
  • The provision of adequate refuse storage facilities such as a storage area and refuse bins.
  • Electrics - possessing a current (no older than 5 years) Electrical Installation Condition Report stating the electrics in the HMO are safe.
  • Gas - if the property has gas, possessing a current (no older than 1 year) Landlords Gas Safety Record stating the gas supply and appliances in the HMO are safe.
  • Fire alarm – possessing a current (no older than 1 year) annual test certificate stating the fire alarm has been tested in accordance with BS 5839 and is working satisfactorily.
  • Emergency lighting - possessing a current (no older than 1 year) annual test certificate stating the emergency lighting has been tested in accordance with BS 5266 and is working satisfactorily.

HMO management regulations

All managers and or owners of HMOs are bound by the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006 No. 372).

If the HMO is a certain building which has been converted into flats, as defined by Section 257 of the Housing Act 2004, the freeholder and or manager of the building is bound by a different set of management regulations as follows:

The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007 and the Houses in Multiple Occupation (certain converted blocks of flats) (Modifications to the Housing Act 2004 and Transitional Provisions for section 257 HMOs) (England) Regulations 2007.

Both sets of regulations impose duties on the person or management company managing an HMO in respect of:

  • providing management contact details to the occupiers
  • taking safety measures, including fire safety measures
  • maintaining the water supply and drainage
  • supplying and maintaining gas and electricity supplies and appliances, including having them regularly inspected
  • maintaining the common parts
  • maintaining living accommodation and
  • providing waste disposal facilities

The regulations also impose duties on occupiers of an HMO for the purpose of ensuring that the person managing it can effectively carry out the duties imposed on them by these regulations.

HMO licensing

An HMO will require a licence from the local authority if it is:

  • Occupied by 5 or more tenants, 4 or more if there is a live-in landlord, in 2 or more households (a household can be an individual, couple or family)
  • There is at least 1 kitchen, bathroom or toilet shared by the tenants

The owner, manager or agent for the owner of a licensable HMO is required to apply to the local authority for an HMO licence.      

The licence holder and manager of a licensed HMO must be a ‘fit and proper person’. They must not have a criminal record or breached housing laws or codes of practice.

An HMO licence is valid for five years and must be renewed before it runs out.

Please see the Housing Act 2004  for a full definition.

Apply for an HMO licence

HMO fire safety regulations

In addition to the local authority’s regulation of HMOs through its adopted standards, licensing and the management regulations, the local fire authority also has powers to regulate fire safety measures in HMOs using the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 .

This order places duties on the person having control of an HMO to have fire precautions in place, to make sure the property is safe and to carry out fire risk assessments.

Planning

Creating an HMO may require planning permission and/or building control approval. Once an HMO is created it will then be subject to the local authority's adopted standards, management regulations and, where appropriate, the licensing scheme for HMOs.

Further information

Housing enforcement

Email:

Tel: 0300 303 8657

Fax: 020 8313 4450

Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH