HMO’s and Fire Detection Rules and Regulations

HMO’s and Fire Detection Rules and Regulations

Are you interested in owning or currently the owner of an HMO? Does your HMO meet all fire and safety standards according to the RLA? In this article, Servian experts will educate you on the proper fire detection rules and regulations to ensure the safety of your tenants.

What is an HMO?

Houses in Multiple Occupation(HMO) are inhabited by three or more tenants, not of the same family. Landlords of HMO’s are required to own a license from the Local Council Housing Department. The license is valid for three years and must be renewed before its expiration date. This assures the housing department and tenants the home meets all safety standards and is properly managed.

HMO living conditions.

The council has in place standards and conditions that each type of HMO must meet to be considered habitable. They may also add additional conditions to your license thus improving the standard of your facility. A few of those conditions are as follows:

  • The size of the house is suitable for the number of occupants.
  • The responsible person/manager or agent is qualified; no criminal record or breach of landlord laws or codes.
  • Yearly you will present the council with an updated gas safety certificate.
  • Install and maintain all required fire detection devices.
  • Provide updated safety certificates for all electrical appliances upon request.

Making your HMO fire and safety compliant.

There are basic fire safety requirements including alarms and licenses listed under the Housing Act 2004 and Councils. There are three types of licenses that have different fire and safety requirements.

  • Mandatory License - HMO's of three or more stories occupied by 5 or more people of two or more families.
  • Additional Licensing (HMO) - Additional rules that are applied at the discretion of the council..
  • Selective Licensing - Discretionary scheme applied by council to non-HMO rental dwellings.

Once you have acquired the appropriate licensing for your HMO it is important to seek out the proper fire and safety guidance. Contact experts like those at Servian for assistance with conducting a fire risk assessment on your facility. Pay close attention to common areas and identify the general fire precautions you should have in place.

Fire precautions for HMO’s.

An expert fire risk assessment will help develop a summary of required actions such as:

  • Consider safe routes.
  • Is there a need for emergency escape lighting?
  • Where do install fire detection devices be installed?
  • Do you need a fire action plan?
  • Where to store firefighting equipment.

All fire precautions are normally focused on the common areas. If fire and safety requirements extend to living areas it is important that the tenancy agreement has a section devoted to the maintenance and accommodations of fire and safety requirements.

HMO’s: Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors regulations.

Regulations require the installation of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in all rented residences. All regulations for rented premises is the responsibility of the immediate landlord.

Smoke alarms are required on every story and in each room, that is frequented or considered as a living space. Areas that would fall under such accommodations would be:

  • Lounge
  • Laundry room.
  • Landings
  • Dining room.
  • Bathrooms.
  • Hallways

Regulations does not designate specific types of alarms. Although, the RLA is partial to hard- wired or tamper proof systems.

Carbon Monoxide detectors should be placed in any room used as a living space. Especially, in places that burn coal, logs or has open fire capabilities. Appliances that burn fuel but not oil boilers or gas, even if they are not normally used.

All landlords are required to carry out checks to ensure all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide systems comply with all regulations and are in proper working order. If you are in doubt of fire and safety standards and regulations the experts at Servian for guidance.

Ask the experts


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