MANAGING AN HMO

Managing an HMO property requires a lot of maintenance. Before converting rooms and renting out the space as an HMO, it’s important to take the time to understand what goes into managing a property like this.

What are the duties of an HMO landlord?

There are a number of HMO regulations that landlords must abide by without exemption. Aside from the usual legal responsibilities that apply to every landlord, here is what else you will have to ensure is in place:

  • Each household in the property must have your contact details
  • All fire escapes are maintained and clear of clutter, while fire precautions remain in good working condition and steps are in place to protect occupants from being injured
  • Water and drainage supply must be maintained
  • Annual gas safety checks are carried out by a qualified person. Electrical installations are checked at least every 5 years. The gas and electric supply must not be unreasonably interrupted by the landlord at any point.
  • All common parts and installation are kept clean and in good working condition, along with good lighting
  • Furniture and units are clean at the start of the tenancy and internal installations and structures are maintained throughout
  • Waste storage facilities must be provided and waste to be collected on a frequent basis

What are the penalties for failing to maintain an HMO?

It is the landlord’s legal duty to abide by the guidelines mentioned above. If not, they will be liable to receive a fine for non-compliance, although there is a defence of reasonable excuse.

If found guilty of breaching their legal responsibility, a fine will be handed out for each separate offence. If it is deemed necessary, further action may also be taken under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004.

Other fines imposed by the local authority can also include:

  • A civil penalty of up to £30,000 as an alternative punishment to prosecution
  • A banning order once the landlord has been convicted

Does student accommodation follow the same guidelines?

Student accommodation is considered an HMO and there are approved codes of practice in place to help with their management. Universities UK have published The Student Accommodation Code, while there is also the National Code. The use of these codes are completely voluntary, although they will ensure you are adhering to current legal requirements.

Should an HMO be licenced?

You should check with your lettings agent or local authority to ensure whether or not your property qualifies as an HMO. If you have 3 or more people residing in at least two separate households sharing facilities within the property, it is likely you will need to apply for a licence.

Licences last for up to 5 years and must be renewed before the existing one expires. This is to avoid receiving a fine of up to £30,000 for failure to renew, or for not having one in the first place.

Get in touch with our expert letting agents about our HMO consultation and management service today. We can help you maximise rental yields and understand the legal requirements and maintenance duties related to HMO property ownership.