The Council is responsible for
checking Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to make sure they are
in a satisfactory condition, are safe, have satisfactory means of
escape from fire, have sufficient bathrooms and kitchens, have
adequate space and proper management.
What is a HMO?
A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
is a house, which is occupied by people who do not form a single
household. (A single household is a group of people who are members
of the same family, either living together as a couple or close
relatives). Examples of a HMO could be:
- Shared houses, occupied by more than two individuals.
- A house let as individual bedsits.
- A group of rooms on each floor let to single occupants.
- Hostels, some hotels, guesthouses.
- Lodgings, and shared houses.
- Houses converted into self-contained flats.
Some or all of the legislation relating to HMO's will not apply
- Houses or flats with only two persons.
- Resident landlord plus two separate tenants.
- Houses converted entirely into self contained flats with
Building Regulations Approval, where at least one third are owner
- Housing associations and Local authority owned property.
- Houses registered under the Children Act 1989, Registered Homes
- Educational establishments and Health Service
What are the Standards?
A HMO has to meet the following standards:
- Have suitable means of escape in case of fire and other fire
- Have adequate basic amenities such as kitchens, bathrooms
toilets and wash hand basins.
- Not be overcrowded, having regard to the number and size of
- Be fit for occupation and in good repair.
- Meet management standards.
- Meet gas and electrical safety requirements.
If conditions in the properties inspected are not up to
standard, the landlord or owner is required to improve them.
It is the responsibility of the manager of the HMO to ensure
that the following are maintained in good repair, clean condition
and good order (including, where appropriate, proper working
- Water Supply, Drainage and General Services.
- Parts and Installations in Common Use. (Including installations
for the supply of gas and electricity, sanitary conveniences,
baths, sinks, washbasins and installations for cooking or storing
- Living Accommodation.
- Lighting, Windows and Ventilation.
- Means of Escape from Fire.
- Outbuildings in Common Use.
Why are Fire Precautions needed?
There is a significant risk of fire in HMO's and fire
statistics show most types of HMO's to have a greater risk of fire
than houses occupied by single families. There are a variety of
reasons for this increased risk but, because it exists, Councils
have powers to require adequate means of escape in case of fire and
other fire precautions.
Are Gas Safety and Electrical Test Certificates
required every year?
All gas installations and appliances MUST be safety checked
and maintained annually by a suitably qualified CORGI registered
gas installer and the installation must meet the requirements of
the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
All electrical installations should ideally be in compliance
with 'B.S.7671:1992 - Requirements for electrical installations',
with works being carried out by an authorised competent person
registered with NICEIC or NAPIT or another accredited
What can I do if my landlord/agent does not carry out
repairs or improvements?
Council Officers are pleased to offer advice and are available
to take more formal action in cases where legal enforcement is
needed to encourage a landlord/agent to carry out necessary repairs
Who is responsible for the HMOs in South
The Environmental & Health District and Housing Team
enforce current legal standards.
Does the HMO need to be licensed?
From the 5th April 2005 HMO’s in buildings of 3 or more
storeys, which are occupied by 5 or more people, and where there is
some sharing of amenities or facilities within the property, will
need to be licensed by the council.
For more information regarding safety inspections for homes in
multiple occupation, please contact a member of the District and
Environmental Protection Team
Legal and Public Health Protection
South Staffordshire Council
You can also speak with a relevant member of staff by using the
contact details below.
There are no associated costs for contacting a member of staff
regarding safety inspections for homes in multiple occupation.
Homes in Multiple Occupation Enquiries
Telephone: (01902) 696000
Fax: (01902) 696222