Historically, a large number of sub-standard HMOs were in existence which was the background for extensive legislation at government and local authority levels. News of landlords operating HMOs with overcrowded and squalid conditions sadly still continue to surface every once in a while, which drives potential HMO landlords away and give responsible HMO owners a bad name. Perhaps some of the worst of its kind are poor fire safety practices that have led to destruction of properties and even deaths. No compromise is worth risking the health, comfort and safety of tenants.
For this reason, local housing councils have created a list of standards for their respective areas that landlords are required to comply with. Though the requirement is only for licensed HMOs, it gives a good guide for anyone thinking of running one. These guidelines are particularly useful if you are thinking of buying an HMO or converting a property for use as an HMO.
All units of accommodation must be large enough to provide sufficient space for living, sleeping, food storage and preparation (except where a shared kitchen is provided).
Studio; exclusive (non-shared) w/ living room
House share w/ living room - typical with student lets
a) 6.5m² for a 1 person bedroom
b) 10m² for a 2 person bedroom
5 or more persons (regardless of age) must have:
• at least 1 bathroom (which may contain a toilet) with a fixed bath or shower and a wash hand basin and
• a separate toilet cubicle with a wash hand basin
6 to 10 persons (regardless of age) must have:
• at least 2 bathrooms (which may contain toilets) with a fixed bath or shower and wash hand basins
• 2 toilets (if not included above) of which one must be a separate toilet cubicle with a washhand basin
• Where reasonably practical, each unit of accommodation should contain a wash hand basin (except where the unit already has a sink)
If some of the units of your HMO do not have kitchens or facilities for cooking food, then there must be a shared kitchen with the ratio of 1 kitchen for each five (5) tenants, or two kitchens for six to ten (6-10) tenants. Kitchens being shared by more than ten (10) tenants is prohibited unless with prior consent from Environmental Health.
The kitchen should be of a good size and layout so that those sharing it can safely use it and be able to prepare and cook food safely. A good sized cupboard of minimum capacity 0.15m³
(500 x 600 x 500) per person for storing dry goods must also be provided, as well as a refrigerator / freezer unit for storing food.
Fire escapes and facilities must be kept in good order and should be free from any form of obstruction. The design and structure of the property must also possess adequate fire safety features and facilities. Fire detection and alarm systems must be provided by the landlord. Reasonable instructions regarding fire safety at the property must be complied with at all times.
A current gas safety certificate must be available where gas appliances are provided.
A certificate must be provided by a competent person showing that all electrical systems, installations and appliances supplied by the landlord are safe.
Each unit of living accommodation in an HMO must be equipped with adequate means of space heating.
At Greens Lettings, we are always happy to provide advice on everything with regard to HMOs, Management, Licensing, Fees, Regulations etc. Contact us today and, as your HMO Expert, we'll tell you why starting an HMO is a great business choice!
Greens Lettings is a property management company based in Shooters Hill, London. As your HMO expert in SE18, we continue to serve places in South East London such as SE2 (Abbey Wood), SE3 (Blackheath), SE7 (Charlton), SE9 (Eltham), SE10 (Greenwich South St), SE18 (Woolwich), SE23 (Lewisham) and SE28 (Thamesmead) — just to name a few. We are your local online letting agent specialising in HMO tenant find and full management. We offer free consultation and free property valuation. Contact Greens Lettings here.