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Private Rented Team
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
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01752 307075
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Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

This page advises people who own, or act as agents for the owners of HMOs. The term HMO can include shared student housing, bedsits, buildings converted into flats, hostels, and guest houses. Further information as to what is an HMO, along with other guidance on the matters referred to, is available from the Houses in multiple occupation page or from the Private Rented Team.

A Manager of a HMO has a duty to properly manage that house.

There are other requirements to properly manage residential property; these include the demands of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, Licensing (in some cases) and your duties to your tenants.

Management regulations are -

  • The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006
  • The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007

The 2006 regulations apply to HMOs let as bedsits, shared flats and houses, buildings not fully divided into self contained flats, hostels, guest houses etc.

The 2007 regulations apply to HMOs which have been fully divided into fully self contained flats.

The purpose of the regulations is to ensure that 'the manager' exercises proper standards of management.

These duties include; ensuring the house is in and maintained to a good state of repair, all facilities are kept in proper working order and all steps are taken to prevent tenants from risk of injury.

The contents of both sets of regulations are very similar and set out as follows -

  • The manager is to provide his name, address and telephone number to all the occupiers, and display this in a prominent position
  • All means of escape from fire to be kept free from obstruction
  • Fire alarms and fire fighting equipment to be kept in good working order
  • All reasonable steps are taken to ensure the safety of the occupiers, this includes protecting occupiers from falls, for example, from low windows, off flat roofs and into light-wells as well as other hazards, but will also cover electrical, gas and other safety issues
  • The water supply is maintained, tanks covered and fittings protected from frost, the water supply is not to be unreasonably interrupted
  • The drainage system (including rainwater drainage) is maintained
  • The manager must supply a copy of the latest gas certificate within seven days of us requesting it
  • Ensure the electrical wiring is tested at no less than five yearly intervals, and supply a copy of the test certificate within seven days of us requesting it
  • Ensure that the supply of gas and electricity to each tenant is not unreasonably interrupted
  • Ensure the common parts and fittings of the HMO are in good order, clean, decorative, repaired and free from obstruction, this includes handrails, stair carpets, windows, light fittings and appliances
  • Common parts lighting is to be adequate and available at all times
  • The common outbuildings, yards etc are to be kept in good order
  • The boundary walls, fences etc are kept safe and in good order
  • The doors to each letting are kept in good order
  • Each unit of accommodation, and any furniture provided with it, should be clean at the beginning of the occupation
  • Each unit of accommodation, its windows and ventilators are to be kept in good repair, and working order, the fittings and appliances are to be kept clean and in good working order, there are exceptions where problems arise from poor tenant behaviour
  • Proper facilities and arrangements are provided for the storage and disposal of refuse, this may require greater provision than we may ordinarily make

Who is the manager?

The manager can be -

  • the owner of the property
  • a person receiving rent or other monies (for example meter money)

It is important that if you delegate some management duties to someone else, you are each clear about your respective responsibilities.

If you are an agent collecting rent or other monies you may be held responsible for complying with the regulations. This applies even if the function falls outside your management role as defined in your contract with the owner.

What happens if things go wrong?

When there is a failure to comply with a requirement of these regulations, we would normally seek your agreement to deal with the problem. Where this is not possible -

  • the council may prosecute
  • there may be grounds to revoke the license (in the case of a licensed HMO)

Isn't the tenant responsible?

Tenants may be responsible under the terms of the tenancy agreement, but under the regulations the manager is responsible for ensuring that things are put right when problems do occur. This is because the failure of one tenant can result in others being put at risk.

Under the regulations tenants have some responsibilities to co-operate with the manager.

Further reading

More information on the regulations and how to comply with them is given below -

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