Recently a couple was fined £8,000 for failing to comply with multiple occupancy regulations in Kent, and while their example is an extreme one, it serves as a useful insight into the importance of knowing the law with regards to HMO properties and investments.
The Azads were found guilty by Bexley Council of housing 17 people in a bungalow that could legally only bed eight individuals.
Now, that isn’t to say any reasonable person thinking of entering the HMO market would flagrantly disregard the regulations and common decency, but it does show that local authorities will go after people who break them.
Regulations are tougher on multiple occupancy homes compared to single or family rents, on top of the usual regulations there are strict rules on everything from the number of toilets in the house to the extra safety precautions required.
For example, if there are five or more occupiers, then there needs to be more than one toilet in the property by law, this number increases as the number of people in the property increases.
There are similar regulations around access to kitchen appliances like cookers, fridges, and freezers. Even more seriously, there are extra rules for HMOs to ensure the safety of all of the occupants, most of these are related to the proper installation of fire escapes and fire doors, but they all need to be met.
On top of all of that, each local authority legislates its own refuse collection policy, and all will have different requirements for the proper disposal of rubbish from multiple occupancy homes. Some councils will say an HMO with five people must have a larger bin, whereas others may say a property can have an extra bin with six or more people. All of these extra bins need to have a place to be stored safely. It gets even more complicated when you start to consider recycling.
One of the fines Bexley Council handed down to the Azads was because their property had collected too much rubbish and they had no way of properly disposing of the waste produced by that many people.
Investing in an HMO can offer lucrative returns when done properly, but failure to meet all of the extra legislation can result in costly consequences.
Mistoria is an expert in all matters regarding HMO regulation and can assist anyone who is thinking of making an investment in the market. Please contact our team for assistance with your properties or for advice on any landlord services North West including Salford, Liverpool and Bolton are all areas we are very familiar with.