Houses in Multiple Occupation amenity guidance
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are an important source of accommodation in the private rented sector. However, problems in this type of accommodation can arise because the level of provision of the amenities and facilities vary, some HMOs lack sufficient amenities and facilities for the number of occupiers. Room sizes can also vary and rooms can be of insufficient floor space for the occupant(s) to live comfortably.
Amenity standards relating to HMOs are provided for in the Housing Act 2004, section 65 in the form of 'nationally prescribed' and 'locally adopted' standards. The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006 provides more detail of the nationally prescribed standards. The objective of the national standards is to ensure a consistent approach to amenities, but not prescribe in detail what the standards ought to be. Where the Government have laid down national standards the Council have added further guidance and where no national standard has been prescribed the Council have applied its own locally adopted standards.
It is important for the Council to have a set of amenity and space standards by which HMOs can be assessed. The Amenity Standard Guidance will assist the Council to achieve consistency in ensuring satisfactory amenities, facilities and room sizes in HMOs. It will also enable owners, landlords, managing agents, tenants and other interested parties to know the amenity, facility and living space requirements in a HMO for a given number of occupants. By following the guidance providers of accommodation will ensure that they are meeting the minimum requirements and that occupiers are living in good quality housing.
The standards set out in the document are usually regarded as a MINIMUM but are a guide only. Upon inspection of a property other factors may be taken in to account, therefore allowing a degree of flexibility in certain circumstances. These factors could include the shape and amount of usable living space, or the needs and wishes of the occupant(s).
Whilst the Amenity Standard Guidance is produced with the aim that HMOs subject to Mandatory HMO Licensing should achieve the minimum standards set out in this document, the Council will also have regard to the guidance and interpretation detailed within the document when considering amenity standards in non-licensable HMOs.
Where any discrepancies arise the Council would use the provisions within the Housing Act 2004 to assess a HMO under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
Legislation may change over time and the advice given is based on the information available at the time this guidance was produced. The Council may at any time revise the Amenity Guidance to reflect changes in legislation, guidance and good practice.