Amenities, repairs and management for houses in multiple occupation
Management of a HMO
Adequate means of escape and other fire precautions are only sufficient if there are also adequate arrangements to ensure the house in multiple occupation (HMO) is managed in such a way as to ensure that the standard of fire safety is maintained. Means of escape, for instance, should be kept clear and fire precautions such as alarm systems and extinguishers need regular maintenance.
There are regulations produced by the government to ensure that anyone who manages a HMO observes proper standards of repair, cleanliness and maintenance throughout the property.
They cover the water supply and drainage; parts of the house and installations in common use; living accommodation; windows and other ventilation; escape from fire and apparatus and systems for fire precautions, as well the general safety of residents.
The regulations also require occupiers of a HMO not to obstruct the manager of the property from carrying out their duties under the regulations.
There needs to be adequate facilities in a HMO, particularly in a shared house or for occupiers of bed-sits where the facilities are shared. In self-contained flats, where all rooms are behind the front door of the unit, it is self evident that it must be provided with appropriate amenities. The amenities required are:
adequate facilities for storage, preparation and cooking of food, including sinks with hot and cold water supplies
sufficient suitably located WCs, for the occupants
adequate number of suitably located baths or showers and wash-hand basins, each with satisfactory supplies of hot and cold water
It is essential for the exterior of a property to be kept in good order. This includes the roof, walls, windows and doors because they keep the weather out. Watch for:
slipped, missing or broken roof slates or tiles
leaks to the gutter (a dark, damp area on the wall beneath the gutter is a sure sign of problems)
cracked or missing rendering to the walls as this can let in water
pointing (the mortar between the bricks) which is missing, or is easy to rub away with a finger
open-grained wood to windows and the frames which can let rainwater into the timber, unless protected by paint or protective staining