Do you live in a bedsit, as part of a shared house or in a flat?
If so the risk of death or injury, particularly from fire, can be up to 17 times greater than in a singly occupied property. To reduce these risks extra standards apply to such properties. These include:
- fire precautions (e.g. fire alarms, emergency lighting, fire doors, etc).
- additional kitchen facilities, when shared. Usually one kitchen per five occupants.
- additional bathroom facilities, when shared. At least one bathroom per five occupants.
- minimum room sizes depending on how many people occupy the property and whether a communal living space is available.
- extra management responsibilities (e.g. the cleanliness of the common areas and general maintenance of the property including refuse facilities, yards and gardens).
We are responsible for ensuring that HMOs reach at least the minimum legal standards.
How can we help?
We can help by telling tenants about their rights and ensuring that landlords carry out their obligations to the occupier. In particular we can help with:
- disrepair, structural instability and dampness.
- inadequate lighting, heating and ventilation.
- a lack of, or an unhealthy, water supply.
- inadequate kitchen or bathroom facilities (including hot water).
- dangerous gas or electrical installations and appliances.
- harassment and attempted or actual illegal eviction.
- ensuring adequate fire safety.
What you can do before you move in
- carefully check the house before agreeing to rent it.
- make sure that the house has adequate amenities.
- make sure that you see, read and understand the contract before you sign it.
- make sure there are fire precautions and fire doors in the property.
- ask to see a Gas Safety Certificate for the house. Your Landlord must provide one by law.
- make sure you know who your landlord or agent is, where they live and how to contact them in an emergency.
What you can do after you move in
- occupy the property in a reasonable manner. (This is a legal obligation).
- don't tamper with any safety equipment (e.g. fire alarms and extinguishers, door closers, etc).
- co-operate with the manager by keeping the house safe and clean.
- report any damage or necessary repairs to your landlord.
- Other responsibilities
Owners have responsibilities under other legislation to make sure that properties are up to standard in such things as fire precautions, bathrooms, kitchens, repairs etc.
To ensure compliance with the required standards, the Council will abide by the 'enforcement policy'.
These differ depending on the legislation, but normally the Courts can either impose fines of up to £5,000, impose a prison sentence or impose both a fine and a prison sentence depending on the seriousness of the offence.
These regulations are enforced by the Council's Private Sector Housing section. If you think there are problems in the house you own or live in please contact the HMO team.