Don’t buy an HMO until you know these Facts.  in Buckinghamshire . email or call 07551756279

HMO legal requirements.

We have been converting properties into Houses of Multiple occupation (HMO’s) for many years.  During these years I have heard the same blase’ statements from inexperienced landlords. They casually talk about renting out the ‘rooms’ in a house to different tenants to gain more Rent! (Don’t buy an HMO until you know these Facts). Well it sounds easy and if you do no more due diligence than that! go ahead with renting out rooms, then I predict it wont be long before the council are knocking on your door. They will shut down  your HMO and take you to court.  You will face a fine up to £20,000. Then ‘the tenants’, can legally demand every penny of rent back, which was paid to you over the previous 12 months.

Don’t buy an HMO until you know these Facts.

So, if you are going to run your rental property as an HMO, do it properly. Don’t buy an HMO until you know these Facts! To Find out the facts, firstly, go to the Council websites. There you will find the crucial information required by the council to run an HMO. The information is clear and can be downloaded free!

Each council sets their own standards, so don’t read one and think their criteria is the same for all other Councils. Example; Southwark Council has a minimum room size 8m2, yet Hammersmith & Fulham Council, has a minimum room size of 7m2.

 Minimum bedroom size.

This question has been debated for a decade. However, due to a ruling of the upper tribunal case of, Clark v Manchester City council.  Also look at case reference CAM/38UC/HML/2015/0004 relating to a case against Oxford City Council.                          

The answer to the question is that there is no minimum room size. This said, councils generally refer you to the 1985 Housing Act, part 10, which covers ‘over-crowding’. The councils will look at the whole property and take a view on how many occupants could reside in the building and live harmoniously under one roof.

The Councils are given the following National guideline then adapt their own policy.

Bedroom (1 person) 6.5m2.

Bedroom (2 persons) 10m2.

Don’t buy an HMO until you know these Facts.

kitchen, no more than one storey away from rented rooms.

shared kitchen size (1-3 persons) 5m2.

kitchen size (4 persons) 6m2.

A kitchen size (5 persons) 7m2.

Kitchen size (6 persons)   9m2.

A kitchen size (7-10 persons) 11m2.

Note;  For 5 persons sharing a kitchen you require one cooker and sink. 6-10 persons sharing requires 2 cookers and 2 sinks, with a minimum of 1metre of work space between each of them.

Communal Lounge;

The General guidance is 2m2 per person entitled to use the communal living room

Fire doors;

The council will require Fire doors (FD30 standard) to be fitted to all rooms including the bathroom (if the bathroom has an electric shower).

HMO Legal requirements for Fire alarms.

Two storey HMOs require category; Grade D, LD2 system;

Hard wired smoke detectors are usually wired off the lighting circuit with back up batteries in the detectors in case of mains failure. only an individual detector would trigger in the event of fire or smoke and there is no central control panel.

Three storey HMOs or above require a Grade A, LD2 system;

This is a BS5839-1, alarm consisting of smoke detectors in all rooms, communal hallways and will  have wall mounted call points and heat detectors in the kitchen. These are all hard wired with 1hour fire cable and linked to a central ‘control panel’. When an alarm is triggered in one room, the alarm in every room will also sound. Occupants can go to the central control panel. It will clearly display in which room the detector triggered. If it was a false alarm, they have 1 minute in which to enter a common code. This will reset the alarm before it connects to the Call centre to trigger emergency response.

Emergency lighting;

The installation must comply with BS5266. Emergency lighting is fitted to the communal hallways, Landings, Stairs and exit doors to the building. if there is a fire and the House fills with smoke, the emergency lighting must show the tenant the way out. Emergency lighting is usually accompanied with illuminated labels fitted to the walls, displaying arrows showing the direction of escape.

In my next blog I will share more information on HMO legal requirements and cover topics such as Management minimum requirements, record keeping, inspections and health & safety. can assist you with All HMO conversions, or call 07551756279


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