Landlords that rent out their property to a number of tenants that have no familial relation often find themselves faced with a variety of legal responsibilities that can seem quite complicated, particularly for those new to the field. It is however very important that HMO landlords are aware of all those legal responsibilities, so that they can adhere to them to the best of their ability.
HMOs – what are they?
The term HMO (House in Multiple Occupancy) is used for residential properties in which facilities like bathrooms, kitchens, hand basins and toilets are shared by unrelated individuals. A property is likely to fall into the HMO category if:
- There are separate rental agreements with different tenants
- The property has students living there
- The property is a hostel or a bedsit
- A household is formed by a minimum of three unrelated tenants
If you do not have an HMO already but are thinking of establishing one, then it’s a very good idea to make sure that you have done your research, and ensured that you are knowledgeable about all of your legal responsibilities. Contact Source Fire to check up on the HMO regulations that apply within your local area. We will be able to give management details for your property as well as inform you of the need (or lack of need) for a licence.
HMOs and fire safety
As the landlord of an HMO property it is your legal responsibility to have installed smoke detectors in communal areas and in bedrooms. The kitchen should also be fitted with a heat detector, and it is also very important to make sure that there are an adequate number of escape routes in the event that fire breaks out, and that the kitchen areas are equipped with a fire blanket. Source Fire will complete a full fire risk assessment and will be completed by a suitably qualified and experienced assessor. It will also be your responsibility to make sure that electrics in your property are checked at least every five years, and to have gas checks carried out on an annual basis.
As the landlord of an HMO there are a number of things you need to make sure are in position when it comes to the way the property is managed. These include:
- Having a suitable person appointed as property manager and making sure they are easy to contact
- Ensuring you keep track of the occupancy of your property
- Making sure there are no obstructions in the escape routes
- Keeping communal areas in good condition
Finally, rules can and sometimes do change, so make sure you’re always up to date with current HMO requirements.
Contact Source Fire to book an appointment with one of our professional and qualified Fire Risk Assessors