Rules for managing HMOs
Duties of managers and occupiers of a house in multiple occupation (HMO), whether it is licensed or not, and possible sanctions.
HMO management regulations
Regulations regarding the management of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) impose duties on managers and occupiers of HMOs (except converted blocks of flats) whether they licensed or not.
It is an offence not to comply with the regulations, although there is a defence of reasonable excuse. The penalty on summary conviction, for each separate offence, is a fine. In considering a prosecution for a breach of the management regulations, a local authority should also consider whether to take action under Part 1 Housing Act 2004.
Also, a local authority can:
HMO managers' duties
The regulations impose duties on managers of HMOs to:
provide contact details to each household and have them on display
ensure that all means of escape from fire are maintained and kept free from obstruction, all fire precautions are maintained and that steps are taken to protect occupants from injury
maintain water supply and drainage
ensure annual gas safety checks are carried out
not unreasonably interrupt gas or electricity supply
maintain in repair and keep clean all common parts and installations, and ensure common parts have adequate lighting
ensure each unit and furniture are clean at the start of each occupation and maintain the internal structure and installations in each letting
provide adequate waste storage facilities and ensure that there is appropriate collection of waste
For section 257 HMOs, the manager's duty only applies to parts of the HMO over which it is reasonable to expect the manager to have control. The manager's duty to maintain or keep in repair should be carried out to a reasonable standard, taking into consideration factors such as the age, character and prospective life of the house and its location.
HMO occupiers' duties
Occupiers' duties include:
not to do anything that hinders the manager from meeting their duties
allowing the manager to enter units at a reasonable time to carry out their duties
providing such information to the manager as may be reasonably required in order to meet their duties
taking reasonable care to avoid damage to anything which the manager is under a duty to supply, maintain or repair
storing and disposing of litter in accordance with the arrangements made by the manager
complying with reasonable instructions in respect of means of escape from fire and fire precautions
Management of student accommodation
There are approved codes of practice regarding the management of HMOs occupied by students (whether licensable or exempt). The approved codes are The Student Accommodation Code published by Universities UK, and the National Code.
There are separate codes for student accommodation owned by educational establishments and properties not owned by an educational establishment. Adoption of a code by an establishment or landlord is voluntary.
Last updated: 23 March 2021
s.234 Housing Act 2004.
ss.234, 234(6) and 249A Housing Act 2004, as amended by s.126 and Sch.9 Housing and Planning Act 2016; para 6.5 HHSRS Enforcement Guidance, February 2006.
reg 3 and Sch Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Banning Order Offences) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/216.
regs 3-9 Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/372.
reg 3 Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions)(England) Regulations 2007 SI 2007/1903.
reg 10 Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/372.
s.233 Housing Act 2004; Housing (Codes of Management Practice) (Student Accommodation) (England) Order 2019 SI 2019/884.