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Housing standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation

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The HMO standards are intended to offer guidance to landlords on the physical standards that are required for HMO within the borough. This includes minimum room sizes, bathroom and kitchen facilities and fire safety provision.

Where works are required to ensure that a HMO meets the standards, the landlord should, in the first instance, discuss this with us. This is to help ensure any work carried out meets the required standards.

Landlords should also satisfy themselves that any proposed works do not require planning permission or building control approval.

Application of standards

These minimum standards are relevant only to the licensing of an HMO, however, on any subsequent inspection, a risk assessment may determine that it is necessary to take other additional measures to ensure that the housing standards are satisfactory for each individual unit of living accommodation.

Access to all facilities are to be available at all times.

Housing Act 2004

The Housing Act 2004, which came into force on 6 April 2006, has had a significant impact on the private rented sector (PRS) and most notably, Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Powers and changes contained within the Housing Act 2004 include:

  • The replacement of the ‘fitness standard’ with the Housing, Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) (Part 1, Housing Act 2004).
  • The change in definition of an HMO (Section 254, Housing Act 2004).
  • The introduction of Mandatory HMO Licensing (Part 2, Housing Act 2004).

Definition of a HMO

Under the new Housing Act 2004, a HMO is now a ‘building or part of a building which is occupied by persons who do not form a single household’ which has been converted.

See more detailed information on HMO definition

Mandatory HMO licensing

Not all HMOs will require a licence.

A HMO will be subject to Mandatory HMO Licensing if it consists of 3 or more storeys and contains 5 or more occupants comprising 2 or more households.

Smaller HMOs may require a licence if the borough council seek to designate an area as a Selective Licensing area. In these circumstances any privately rented property within the designated area will require a licence.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The way in which local authorities assess unsatisfactory housing conditions changed on 6 April 2006 from the Housing Fitness Standard, which assessed a dwelling as fit or unfit, to a new risk based system called HHSRS.

The system considers 29 different hazards. Where an inspecting officer considers that a hazard exists within a dwelling, a scoring system is used to determine the severity of the hazard. The action taken to remedy the hazard will depend on its severity and could include service of improvement notices, prohibition orders or undertaking emergency remedial action.

HMO properties that meet the physical standards detailed within these standards will satisfy HHSRS requirements for the relevant HHSRS hazard. However, it should be noted that HHSRS applies to all dwellings and the scope of HHSRS is broader than the standards detailed on this page.

A separate guide to Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) for landlords

Space Standards

HMO minimum room sizes.

Accommodation with facilities shared by occupiers

These standards apply where there is sharing of some or all facilities such as HMOs where:

  • Occupiers live independently of others, for example single room lettings or bedsit accommodation (kitchen facilities within own room)
  • Occupiers forming a group, for example students, professional persons and others who interact socially.

 Where the room is for the sole use of the occupier(s)

1 person

2 people

Bedroom floor area

6.5m2

10m2

Bedsit room floor area

13m2

20.4m2

Where the room is shared by occupiers

2-5 people

6-10 people

Kitchen floor area

7m2

10.2m2

Dining room floor area

11.2m2

16.7m2

​Kitchen diner floor area​11.6m2​16.7m2
​Living room floor area​11.2m2​16.7m2
​Combined living and dining room floor area​18.6m2​27.4m2

Accommodation with facilities for the exclusive use of occupiers

These standards apply where all facilities are for the exclusive use of occupiers forming a single household. It includes an individual or family (husband, wife, partner, child, stepchild, step parent, grandchild, grandparent, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, aunt, uncle, niece, cousin, foster child) and includes self contained flats within HMOs.

 Accommodation with facilities for the exclusive use of occupiers

1 person 2 people

3 people

4 people

Total floor area

20.5m2

34m2

 46m2

 57.5m2

Bedroom floor area

6.5m2

6.5m2

 6.5m2

 6.5m2

Kitchen total area

2.8m2

4.6m2

 7m2

 7.5m2

Combined living and dining room floor area

11.2m2

16.4m2

19.5m2

24m2

 

Hostels

These standards apply to HMOs where board is provided as part of the occupancy.

 For exclusive use of occupants

1 person

2 people

Bedroom

6.5m2

10m2

Combined bedroom and living room where no separate living room is provided.

9m2

14m2

Family bedroom (2 adults and 1 child under 10 years old)

14.5m2 or 18.5m2 where no separate living room is provided.

14.5m2 or 18.5m2 where no separate living room is provided.

 For shared use of occupants

1-3 people

4 people

5 people

6 people

7-10 people

11-15 people 16 or more people

Kitchen (all main meals (3 meals a day) not provided)

5m2

6m2

7m2

9m2

11m2

Kitchen (all main meals provided)

5m2

5m2

5m2

5m2

7m2

Communal living room (not required if individual bedroom and living room meet the standard above)

8.5m2

11m2

11m2

11m2

16.5m2

​21.5m2​At discretion of local authority

Facilities and amenities

HMO licensing standards - for facilities provided for shared and exclusive use.

Personal washing and toilet facilities

Type of use

Standards

Location, size and condition

General

All facilities should be located in rooms of an adequate size and layout within 2 floors of any bedroom and accessible from communal areas unless provided as en-suite facilities for the exclusive use of that occupant.

All baths or showers, toilets and wash hand basins should be of an adequate size and be provided with an adequate water supply, necessary fittings, drainage and be in a satisfactory condition to enable thorough cleaning.  Constant hot water at a suitable temperature to be provided to baths, showers and wash basins. Baths or showers and wash hand basins should be properly sealed into wall surfaces and have 300mm of tiled splashback (or equivalent). Bathrooms and toilet compartments should be of an adequate size and layout.

Baths or showers and toilets

Shared use

At least 1 fixed bath or shower and a toilet (which may be situated in the bathroom) for 4 or  fewer occupiers sharing. Where 5 or more occupiers share these facilities the toilet must be separate to the bathroom. A wash hand basin should be provided in each bathroom or compartment containing a toilet. A number of options may be available to meet this standard, see table produced by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister below.

In hostels where children are accommodated at least 1 bath should be provided.

Baths or showers and toilets

Exclusive use

A fixed bath or shower  and a toilet with wash hand basin.

Wash hand basins

Shared use

In HMOs of 4 or fewer occupiers - a wash hand basin with constant hot and cold water in a shared bathroom (or within each occupier's unit of accommodation, in this case a sink provided as a kitchen facility is acceptable).

In HMOs of 5 or more occupiers - a wash hand basin in each unit of living accommodation (a sink provided as a kitchen facility is acceptable).

Wash hand basins

Exclusive use

A wash hand basin.

Ventilation

General

Bathrooms to have mechanical ventilation to the outside air at a minimum extraction rate of 15 litres per second in addition to any window(s).
Each toilet in a separate compartment is required to have a window  equivalent to 1/20th of the floor area or mechanical ventilation extracting at a minimum extraction rate of 6 litres per second.

Ventilation should not be obstructed externally.

Heating

General

A fixed heating appliance in each bath or shower room sufficient to minimise condensation and provide thermal comfort.

Kitchens

Type of use

Standards

Location, size and condition

General

If kitchens do not have a suitable dining area this facility must be provided within 1 floor distant (this may be a  living room, bedsit or bedroom of suitable size - see standards for room sizes). 

If hostels provide all main meals  the kitchen facilities below are to be provided for every 10 occupiers and the cooker can be replaced with a microwave. If hostels have a commercial kitchen where access is not available at all times a separate kitchen must be provided to the standards below.

Kitchens must have a safe and efficient layout and be of a suitable size - see standards for room sizes.

All facilities and equipment must be fit for purpose.

Sinks

Shared use

A sink with constant hot and cold water, a draining board and tiled splash back per 5 occupiers (a dishwasher will be acceptable as a second sink) or within an individual unit of accommodation.

Sinks

Exclusive use

A sink with constant hot and cold water, tiled splash back and a draining board.

Cookers

Shared use

A cooker with a 4 ring hob, oven and a grill per 5 occupiers or within an individual unit of accommodation (a 27 litre microwave with oven and grill will be acceptable as a second cooker).

Cookers

Exclusive use

A cooker with a 4 ring hob, oven and grill.

A cooker with a 4 ring hob, oven and grill or a 2 ring hob, oven and grill together (positi1d so that hobs are at worktop level) with a 27 litre microwave will be acceptable in accommodation occupied by a single person.

Electrical Sockets

General

4 suitably positi1d electric sockets are required plus 1 per major appliance (this is a cooker microwave, refrigerator, freezer, washing machine and so on).

Worktop

Shared use

Fixed worktop(s) with a smooth impervious surface for food preparation, minimum size 500mm x 1000mm per 5 occupants or within an individual unit of accommodation.

Worktop

Exclusive use

Fixed worktop(s) with a smooth impervious surface for food preparation, minimum size 500mm x 1000mm.

Storage

Shared use

A 0.3m3 dry goods storage cupboard other than a sink base unit per occupier either in each occupant's room or in a shared kitchen.

Storage

Exclusive use

A 0.6m3 dry goods storage cupboard other than a sink base unit.

Refrigerators

Shared use

2 worktop h8 refrigerators with freezer compartments or 1 worktop h8 fridge and 1 worktop h8 freezer per 5 occupiers or a worktop h8 refrigerator with a freezer compartment within each individual unit of accommodation.

Refrigerators

Exclusive use

A  worktop h8 refrigerator with a freezer compartment.

Refuse

General

Suitable and sufficient provision for refuse disposal both within the unit of accommodation and outside.

Ventilation

General

Mechanical ventilation to the outside air at a minimum extraction rate of 60 litres per second or 30 litres per second if the fan is sited within 300mm of the centre of the hob. This is in addition to any windows.

Fire precautions

Type of use

Standards

Fire detection

General

A Category LD2 fire detection system to BS5839: Part 6: 2004. The design should be submitted for approval. Normally a Grade A system will be required; however, in some circumstances, this may include Grade D systems in part or all of the dwelling. The system will normally include a control panel and, in addition to detectors in the circulation areas at each floor level and call points, detection in kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, bedsitting rooms and bedrooms. A sound level of 75dBA should be  reached at bedheads.

Emergency lighting

General

An emergency lighting system to BS5266: Part 1:1999.

Fire blankets

General

A fire blanket conforming to BSEN 1869, 1967  in each shared kitchen.

Fire doors

General

A fire door conforming to BS 476; Part 22; 1987 to be provided to each shared kitchen.

Locks

General

All locks on doors with self closing mechanisms and final exit doors should be capable of being opened from the room without the use of a key.

 

Heating

Type of use

Standards

Fixed heating

General

A fixed heating appliance(s) capable of maintaining a temperature of 21C with an outside temp of -1C in each unit of living accommodation (electrical appliances must have a dedicated socket). Heating should be available at all times and be under the control of the occupier.

Glossary of terms

  • Shared use - where one or more basic amenities (personal washing, toilet or kitchen) are shared by 2 or more households.
  • Exclusive use - where a basic amenity is provided for the use of a single household.
  • Single household - person(s) of the same family group, this includes an individual living on their own, an individual living in a group is also regarded as a single household.
  • Family - includes husband, wife, partner, child, stepchild, step parent, grandchild, grandparent, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, aunt, uncle, niece, cousin, foster child.
  • Unit of living accommodation - part of the HMO occupied by a single household, this includes bedrooms in shared houses or flats, bedsitting rooms, self contained flats (all basic amenities provided for exclusive use of that household).
  • Hostel - where board is provided as part of the occupation and it constitutes a persons only or main place of residence. Hostel includes bed and breakfast and hotel accommodation used by persons as their only and main residence which is  a house in multiple occupation.

Related pages

Contact

01706 926223

Phone: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

Private Sector Housing
Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU