HMO Advice & Guidance

Welcome to Tulip Estate Agents HMO advice and guidance portal

The regulations surrounding HMO’s have historically been more complicated and onerous, with varied definitions surrounding what constitutes an HMO and whether the occupation is by a cohesive or non-cohesive group. The different types of HMOs are governed by different sets of regulations along with varying rules for amenities, room sizes and safety precautions. No need to worry though, we are here to help you with our in house HMO environmental health expertise and services.

Is your property an HMO?

It is very important to be clear about whether a property is a HMO by definition in law. A common misconception is that if a property does not meet the definition of a Mandatory Licensing it is not an HMO. This is incorrect and a number of regulations with serious penalties apply to ALL HMOs. Please see the following definitions;

Definitions of the different types of HMO

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  • The standard definition of an HMO – If a property is occupied by 3 or more people forming two or more households and sharing facilities. I.e. A 2 bed property with a couple renting a room with an individual renting another room would be an HMO.
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  • The current definition for Mandatory Licensing is any property with 5 or more occupants, forming at least two household sharing Living/bathroom/kitchen/dining facilities.
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  • Some blocks of self-contained flats are classed as HMOs under S257 of the Housing Act 2004, due to the date of conversion;
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  • An individual self-contained flat can be an HMO if it meets the standard definition or that of Mandatory Licensing;
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  • Exemptions – A property occupied by only two individuals, owner occupiers with up to two lodgers; properties managed by local authority, registered social landlord properties, police, health or fire and rescue services, certain student halls of residence and some religious buildings;

You may also like to refer to the government advice at https://goo.gl/zX8f21 and guidance on the Hull City Council website http://ow.ly/hOQ930mrDYP

Type of occupation affecting HMOs

It is important to make a distinction between the “cohesive” or “non-cohesive” occupation of an HMO. The type of occupation will dictate differing standards for fire safety, room sizes, maximum occupation and level of amenities to ensure the safety and well-being of tenants. E.g. Non-cohesive HMOs require a much higher standard of fire precautions than a cohesive HMO.

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  • Cohesive HMO – Makes consideration to the social group i.e. students often come as a pre-formed group and more likely to act as one group;
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  • Non-cohesive/bedsit HMO – Individuals renting a rooms on individual tenancies;

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The HHSRS is a hazard rating system used by local authorities and property professionals to assess hazards within the properties. HHSRS will be used when a property is inspected by the local authority and defects contributing to hazards are identified and assessed as a Category 1 or 2. The local authority uses these scores to decide on the most appropriate course of enforcement action and have a duty to remove category 1 hazards and discretional duty to deal with category 2 hazards.

We are professionally trained in HHSRS with a wealth of experience to identify any significant hazards within the property and specify a solution.

HMO Management Regulations – Place duties on the “manager” of an HMO

Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (additional provisions) 2007 – Apply to s257 HMO blocks of flats and traditional HMOs.

The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006 – Apply to cohesive and non-cohesive shared house HMOs.

The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018 - Details minimum bedroom sizes of no less than 6.51m² for a person aged over 10 years, not less than 10.22m² two persons aged over 10 years; and not less than 4.64m² for one person aged under 10 years.

The manager of an HMO must ensure that the Regulations are complied with and this covers many things, including the requirement for electrical safety checks every 5 years, gas safety, ensuring the fire precautions are maintained and maintaining communal areas and gardens.

Article 4 directive affecting creation of HMOs

On the 9th October 2013 an Article 4 planning directive was introduced by Hull City Council to restrict the creation of HMOs within a certain area of the city. The directive removed permitted development rights to create an HMO of any kind and planning permission will be required to change use from C3 to C4. Existing HMOs may be exempt from this rule where historic use can be proved. A map for the area of the City affected, along with other information can be found on the Hull City Council website. http://bit.ly/2DhtIdh. It is important to take advice and guidance from the authority or planning consultant before taking action.

Other guidance documents that apply

LACORS Housing Fire Safety Guidance – National guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing – drafted in consultation with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and The Chief Fire Officers Association. Used by local authorities, fire authorities and other property professionals to design fire safety precautions within residential buildings. This document is likely to inform standards set in the local authority HMO licence conditions.

LACORS Regulation of Crowding and Space in residential premises – The guidance was produced to assist local authorities in the assessment of the HHSRS crowding and space hazards. This will be used in conjunction with the soon to be inforce minimum bedroom size standards to assess maximum occupation of HMOs.

HHSRS – Guidance for landlord landlords and other property related professionals - https://goo.gl/LPyhf7 - It is an important document for any landlord to be aware and will help understand one of the main tools local authorities use to ensure the safety of tenants in private rented properties.

Our HMO environmental health services

We can assist you with our in house Environmental Health Officer to provide the advice and guidance you need for peace of mind. We have a range of services including property audits with floor plans, to check if your property is in order and help with a licence application.

We suggest proactive actions to future proof your investments, ensure compliance with regulations and improve the quality and safety of the accommodation. This will add value to your property and allow an increase the rental income. Ensuring a property is compliant and meets the required standards will give you confidence when applying for an HMO licence.

Environmental health property audit

An initial property audit, with schedule of works, full costing estimate for any improvements and floor plan will be produced for £250+VAT per property. The audit includes;

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  • Detailed inspection of the property, identifying current condition, compliance with relevant Regualtions, room sizes, amenities, fire precautions and HHSRS hazards;
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  • Production of 1-100 CAD floor plan detailing the location of fire precautions, bathroom/kitchen amenities, heating appliances, electrical sockets and room sizes; The plan is suitable for submission with HMO licence application (The floor plan only option £100+VAT);
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  • Report including a schedule detailing works needed to bring the property up to relevant compliance standards;
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  • Full costings of any improvement works required and completion of works upon instruction;
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  • Upon completion of the works the 1-100 CAD floor plan will be amended as necessary for submission with an HMO licence application;
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  • We also have a HMO licence application package for landlords who would like help with the application. If you would like this service the cost of the property audit is deducted from the individual application cost

Full HMO licence application - £500 + VAT

We can help you with your HMO licence application. The application process can seem daunting and complicated or you may simply not have time or prefer us to assist you. This package includes a Property Audit (individual price £250 + VAT) and;

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  • Completion and submission of the Hull City Council detailed online application;
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  • Where required arrange safety checks for the certificates required to allow an application; E.g. Gas safety check, Electrical installation condition reports (EICR), fire alarm test, emergency lighting, fire risk assessment, Portable Appliance testing (PAT) (additional costs will apply);
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  • Complete regular inspections of the property to ensure the licence conditions are being upheld;
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  • Arrange payment of licence application fee to Hull City Council on your behalf (Hull City Council Fees not included as part of this service);
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  • Other packages are available including “Fast track/emergency application” and “Formal consultation for draft licence” and “Floor plan only”

HMO licensing and environmental health packages

Our products and services are available to you regardless of whether you are purchasing from us or your property is managed by Tulip Estate Agents

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  • Property Audit - £250+VAT – as detailed above;
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  • HMO Licence Application or Licence renewal - £500+VAT, Property Audit included in this price - (excluding Hull City Council application fee) – as detailed above;
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  • 1-100 CAD Floor plan only - £100+VAT - Site visit to hand draw plan and production of CAD plan suitable to submission with HMO licence application (subject to access);
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  • Formal consultation at licence draft stage £100+VAT – Drafting a formal response to Hull City Council regarding any concerns over the details of the draft licence conditions;
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  • Fast track/emergency HMO licence application £750+VAT – Application completed within 10 working days including property audit, floor plan and issuing of certificates if instructed - (excluding our standard licence application fee and Hull City Council licence application fee). Timescale subject to access for audit and availability of relevant certification for application;
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  • Application to vary a HMO licence £100+VAT – We will draft and a formal letter to apply for a licence variation. When a HMO licence is issued the only way to make amendments to the conditions is to formally apply for a variation;
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  • Tailored service - We can tailor our services to meet individual needs of clients with price upon application;

Craig Hitter

Environmental Health Compliance Manager

My name is Craig Hitter and I am an Environmental Health Officer specialising in HMOs and housing, with a BSc Hons Environmental Health and a decade of experience working for Hull City Council regulating multiple occupancy housing and flats in the city. I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and also have experience as a lettings property manager and in property investment.

How It Works

Example Property Audit Inspection Report

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Property Floorplans

Example Floorplan Template

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