At RJ Lewis Electrical, we pride ourselves in offering a market leading, all in one solution for all Letting Agents and Property Management Companies in the UK.
Our one stop shop solution allows our clients to have the piece of mind that all of their legislative requirements are being professionally managed by fully qualified Engineers.
Our unique HMO packages give both the Landlord and the Letting Agent the confidence that their property is being looked after every second of every day and that all of the legal requirements that are in place for HMO’s have been fully covered.
What is HMO?
HMO stands for houses in multiple occupations, which is defined under sections 254 & 257 of the Housing Act 2004.
An HMO can be a building or part of a building if it is:
- Occupied by persons who form more than one household, and where those persons share (or lack) one or more basic amenities, such as a WC, personal washing and cooking facilities
- A converted building containing one or more units of accommodation that do not consist entirely of self-contained flats. (There is no requirement that the occupiers share facilities)
- A converted building consisting entirely of self-contained flats, where the building work undertaken in connection with the conversion did not comply with the 1991 Building Regulations and more than one third of the flats are occupied under short tenancies.
The HMO must be occupied by more than one household:
- As their only or main residence
- As a refuge by persons escaping domestic refuge
- During term time by students
- For some other purpose that is described in regulations
In all cases:
- Occupation of the living accommodation must be the only use of that accommodation
- Rents are payable or other considerations are provided
- Under the Housing Act 2004, a household comprises: A single person
- Co-habiting couples (whether or not of the opposite sex)
- A family (including foster children and children being cared for) and current domestic employees.
Exemptions from HMO definitions
Certain types of buildings will not be HMO’s for the purpose of Part 2 of the Act. They are:
- Buildings, or parts of buildings, occupied by no more than two households, each of which comprise a single person only (for example, two person house or flat shares)
- Buildings occupied by a resident landlord with up to two tenants
- Buildings managed or owned by a public sector body, such as the police, local authority, registered social landlords, fire and rescue authority and the NHS
- Buildings occupied by religious communities
- Student halls of residence where the education establishment has signed up to an Approved Code of Practice
What are the Safety Legislations?
If you rent your property to three or more unrelated people it will be classified as a House in Multiple Occupation and be subject to HMO legislation. That means you must have an HMO license and will be guilty of an offence if you rent a property without it. To acquire an HMO license you must typically comply with the following:
Toilet – one for every five people Bath or shower – one for every six people Washbasin – within or adjacent to each toilet Adequate heating, lighting and ventilation
A mains operated fire alarm system must be installed All gas and electrical appliances must be maintained in a safe and satisfactory condition Any furniture must meet with the legal regulations on fire safety In some properties doors must be upgraded to fire door standards At least one fire blanket and fire extinguisher must be provided A fire risk assessment must be carried out and kept up to date
Under the Housing Act 2004 and if your property is a HMO, it should have:
- Adequate fire precautions and means of escape from fire – self closing fire doors with smokes seals and thumb turn locks on doors
- An automatic fire alarm and detection system – see below
- A safe electrical installation, certified by an electrical safety certificate
- Emergency lighting system Fire fighting equipment – fire blankets and extinguishers, sited in appropriate places
- Properties that are three or more story’s high require a fire alarm
- Automatic fire detection L2 system, in accordance with BS5839: Part 1: 2002
Properties that are a single or two stories high require a fire alarm system, in accordance with BS5446: Part 1: 1990
Landlords have a common law duty to ensure that gas installations and appliances supplied with their properties are safe. This means that landlord’s or their agents have a statutory duty to:
- Ensure that fittings and flues are maintained in a safe condition. This means that you should have gas installations and appliances serviced regularly and keep a record of the service.
- Have a safety check carried out on all gas appliances and flues annually or within 12 months before the start of a new tenancy.
- Check gas installations and appliances immediately before the start of any new tenancy, even if the gas safety certificate is still current.
- Have all installation, maintenance and safety checks carried out by a CORGI/ GAS SAFE registered engineer only. Keep a record of each safety check for 2 years – the CORGI/ GAS SAFE installer will issue this.
- Give a copy of the CORGI/ GAS SAFE installer’s safety check report to each current tenant within 28 days of the safety check, or to new tenants before occupation.
It is important to ensure that the electrical system and appliances supplied are safe in any property you let. You are advised to make your own visual inspections as landlord or agent and have periodic checks carried out by a qualified electrician. What your property should have:
- An adequate number of sockets in each room
- A safe electrical installation. This is certified by an electrical test certificate issued by an NICEIC or similarly accredited engineer.
- Safe electrical appliances