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Duties upon the manager of an HMO

The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and the licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007 place the following duties upon the manager of a house in multiple occupation (HMO). Failure to comply with the regulations is a criminal offence. This section highlights some of the key duties in the Regulations:

Duty to provide information to occupiers:

  • The name, address and telephone number of the manager must be provided to each household in the HMO, and the same information must be clearly displayed in a prominent position in the HMO (in the common parts of the HMO).

Duty to take safety measures:

  • Means of escape from fire must be kept free of obstruction and kept in good order and repair
  • Fire fighting equipment, emergency lighting and alarms must be kept in good working order
  • All reasonable steps must be taken to protect occupiers from injury with regard to the design of the HMO, its structural condition and the total number of occupiers. In particular, any unsafe roof or balcony must be made safe or all reasonable measures taken to prevent access to them. Safeguards must be provided to protect occupiers with windows with sills at or near floor level
  • In HMOs of more than four occupants, notices indicating the location of means of escape from fire must be displayed so they are clearly visible to all occupiers.

Duty to maintain water supply and drainage:

  • These must be maintained in proper working order - namely in good repair and clean condition. Specifically, storage tanks must be effectively covered to prevent contamination of water, and pipes should be protected from frost damage. 

Duty to supply and maintain gas and electricity:

  • These should not be unreasonably interrupted by the landlord or manager
  • All fixed electrical installations must be inspected and tested by a qualified engineer at least once every 5 years and a results certificate obtained
  • The latest gas safety record and electrical safety test results must be provided to the council within 7 days of the council making a written request for such.

Duty to maintain common parts, fixtures, fittings and appliances:

  • All common parts must be kept clean, safe, in good decorative repair and working order and free from obstruction. In particular, handrails and banisters must be provided and kept in good order, any stair coverings securely fixed, windows and other means of ventilation kept in good repair and adequate light fittings available at all times for every occupier to use
  • Gardens, yards, outbuildings, boundary walls/fences, gates, etc., which are part of the HMO should be safe, maintained in good repair, kept clean and present no danger to occupiers/visitors
  • Any part of the HMO which is not in use (including areas giving access to it) should be kept reasonably clean and free from refuse and litter.

Duty to maintain living accommodation:

  • The internal structure, fixtures and fittings, including windows and other means of ventilation, of each room should be kept clean, in good repair and in working order.
  • Each room and all supplied furniture should be in a clean condition at the beginning of the tenantís occupation.

Duty to provide waste disposal facilities:

  • No litter should be allowed to accumulate, except for that stored in bins provided in adequate numbers for the requirements of the occupiers. Arrangements need to be made for regular disposal of litter and refuse having regard to the Councilís collection service.

>> Duties on occupiers of HMOs

The Regulations also place a number of duties upon the occupiers (e.g. tenants) of an HMO. These duties include:

  • Not to obstruct the manager in the performance of their duties
  • Allow the manager access to the accommodation at all reasonable times for the purpose of carrying out
    their duties
  • Provide information to the manager which would be reasonably expected to enable them to carry out their duties
  • Act reasonably to avoid causing damage to anything the manager is under a duty to supply, maintain or repair
  • Store and dispose of litter/refuse as directed
  • Comply with reasonable instructions of the manager as regards to any fire escape, fire prevention measures and fire equipment.

The Regulations require that the specified duties are met and maintained. If an occupier breaches their duties under the Regulations it is likely to put their tenancy at risk, and you may be able to take legal action against the tenant. They can also be prosecuted by the local authority with a maximum fine of £5000. So tenants are liable to being prosecuted and fined in the same way as landlords if they fail to comply with the regulations.

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