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What landlords of HMOs need to know about the law

If you’re planning on investing in a house in multiple occupation, commonly known as an HMO, there are several legal requirements that you should probably know first. An HMO is described as a property which is shared by two or more households, with a household consisting of single people, couples of entire families.

Landlords of any kind of property are subject to a range of legal requirements. However, HMOs come with their own set of legal requirements, as dictated by the 2004 Housing Act. Failure to meet these requirements could result in a fine of around £5,000.

The requirements include providing the name and address of the property manager with each occupant of the HMO. You must also take reasonable steps to ensure that tenants are not injured because of the structure of the property. This involves carrying out health and safety inspections, carrying out required works and keeping a record.

You must also comply with the fire legislation and ensure that all fire exits are kept clear. You must also supply the council with a fire risk assessment and failure to do so could result in a criminal prosecution should the worse happen.

For water and drainage, you must ensure that this is in working order, safe and clear. Electrical equipment must be checked once every five years to ensure it is in good working order. And if the council requests, you must supply a gas or electrical safety record within seven days.

In terms of the physical structure of the building, you must ensure that all parts of the exterior are in good order and safe. There must be a sufficient number of shared bathrooms and kitchen space per number of people in the house. All the window fittings must be in good working order and the building should be well ventilated.

All HMOs should be insured with specialist policies relating to their use.

If you fail to comply with any of these requirements, you could be issued with a management order from the council. These are issued if the HMO fails to meet the minimum required standard as laid out but the 2004 Housing Act.

If you are considering investing in an HMO in the Norfolk or Norwich area, then get in touch with a member of our Agile team. We will be more than happy to talk through the legal requirements and any other questions you may have about your legal responsibilities as a landlord.

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To find out more about the local and national property market, or if you would like to chat about anything to do with property investment, give us a ring on Norwich 01603 567804 or send us a message.

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