What do I need to do?
1. Comply with the Regulations (see below)
2. Check whether your HMO needs planning permission (see next blog)
3. Check the council tax requirements (see next blog)
4. Check whether needs licensing (see blog on licensing)
1. Comply with the Regulations
ALL HMOs need to comply with the HMO management regulations [SI 2006/372 in England and SI 2006/1713 Wales] , which apply regardless of licensing status.
The person managing* [ i.e normally the agent] and the person having control [normally the landlord] for the property must:
• Ensure that the name, address and contact number of the person managing are made available to each household, and the same must be displayed clearly in a prominent position in the HMO (Reg 3)
• Take the following general safety measures:
o Keep fire escapes free from obstruction and in good order and repair
o Ensure that any fire fighting equipment are maintained in good working order (Note: no stated requirement as yet to have alarms installed, but these are usually demanded on the basis that it is a reasonable measure to keep an occupier safe from injury).
o Take all reasonable measures to keep the occupiers safe from injury, having regard to the design, structural conditions and number of occupiers (Note that this means that even where under normal L&T principals the Landlord is not required to remedy a design defect, the Landlord/agent may have to attend to the same in HMO).
o Make safe, or prevent access to unsafe roofs or balconies
o Make sure low level windows are barred, or made safe from “accidents which may be caused in connection with such windows”, which we interpret to include falling out of them.
• Keep water supply and drainage in good, clean and working condition, including preventing frost damage and must not unreasonably cause or permit interruption to the supply (Reg 5)
• Provide a gas safety certificate to the local authority within 7 days of them requesting it (Reg6)
• Obtain an electrical fixed wiring certificate every 5 years ( at least), and supply to the local authority within 7 days of them requesting it (also reg 6)
• Not unreasonable cause or permit interruption to the supply of gas or electricity ( also reg6)
• Ensure the common parts are in good decorative repair, clean and free from obstruction, and in safe working condition including:
o All handrails and banisters in good repair
o Provision of handrails and banisters as are necessary for the safety of the occupiers
o Stair coverings ( i.e. carpets) safely fixed and in good repair
o Windows in common parts in good repair
o Light fittings in common parts to be available for use at all times to occupiers
o Shared Fixtures, fittings and appliances ( i.e. used by two or more households) to be in good and safe repair and working order, except where the occupier is entitled to remove it and/or beyond the control of the manager
o Shared outbuildings ( i.e. used by two or more households) in repair, clean condition and good order
o Garden to be kept in safe and tidy condition
• With regards to the entire HMO, to keep the internal structure in good repair, fixtures and fittings and appliances in good repair and clean working order, and all windows in good repair –unless repair is required as a result of the occupier failing to treat the property as she should do under the terms of the lease/licence ( i.e. fails to act in a tenant-like manner)
• Provide bins or arrange for the local authority to provide bins.
NB where the property is an HMO because it is a conversion ( an HMO under s257) , the manager is not expected to go into individual flats, but the above will apply to the common areas.
What if I don’t comply?
Failure to comply with the HMO management regulations is an offence. The maximum fine is £5,000.00 for each offence, although the average fine is considerably less, unless the landlord has refused to cooperate with the local authority. An example of the latter can be seen here.
To be continued…….