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HMO Notice, landlord horrified at works demanded


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I act for a landlord who has received a huge notice of works from Camden Council which my client is horrified at and wants to know how to deal with this not having the huge amount of money required.

eg they want fixed heaters in the rooms although free standing ones are supplied

sill height on sash windows is too low(how do you change this?)

Also a self contained flat in the basement should not be and HMO is that right?

A long list. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.


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I act for a landlord who has received a huge notice of works from Camden Council which my client is horrified at and wants to know how to deal with this not having the huge amount of money required.

Normally if you want an HMO you need to comply with the requirements however expensive, onerous or unwelcomed those requiremens are. There is no magic wand that can be waved to make those requirements disappear. Camden Council are probably only asking for your client to comply with legal requirements.

Many expeerienced landlords will avoid HMO's like the plague specifically because of the expensive list of work often required to meet specifications.

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One of the reasons I would not want to enter into an HMO .....the dreaded list of work to be carried out.

I am all for safety but some Council's do demand an awful lot of things doing which appear to be pointless.

Basement flats are normally not permitted in HMO's. Probably tied up with fire escape regs.?

Your client needs to be aware that the Council will only permit a certain amount time to rectify and complete the works and failing that he either de-register's the HMO or he gets the work done.

Sash windows and window cill height? New one on me!

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A little light bedtime reading for your client.

I can remember now why I never wanted to get into HMO's .......lol

If you are operating or intend to operate residential lettings in this category you would be well advised to consult with your own local authority. Local Environmental Health and Fire Officers will advise on the requirements.

If you are contemplating conversions then local planning approval will be required and the building inspectors will specify standards and requirements.

A landlord operating HMO type property will be under all the usual obligations of a landlord to maintain the property, its structure and internal services, in a fit and safe condition for his tenants.

In addition though, landlords need to arrange the management of their HMOs and in particular the common areas ensuring that:

  • Layouts and facilities meet minimum standards (consult your local authority)
  • You maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition
  • You maintain occupancy at an acceptable level
  • You register with your local authority and provide details of residents and changes in occupancy.
  • You identify a responsible person to manage the property and display contact details prominently on the premises
  • Stairways, passageways, and fire escapes are cleaned and free from obstructions.
  • Fire extinguishers and fire alarms are tested and maintained regularly.

Tenants of HMOs have a responsibility to cooperate with their landlords to ensure that the regulations are complied with. This may mean allowing access to rooms at reasonable times.

Tenants who don't pay their rent on time, cause damage to the property or nuisance to other occupants and neighbours will be in breach of their tenancy agreement and could face eviction proceedings.

The following points are important for landlords of HMOs:
  • Landlords operating certain types of HMOs will need a license from their local council.
  • The landlord is liable for the occupiers' Council Tax and therefore an amount to cover this should be included in the rental.
  • Landlords converting properties into HMOs need to be aware planning, building regulations, environmental health and fire regulations must be complied with.
  • A special insurance policy will be required.
  • Nuisance claims brought by neighbours are likely due to increases in noise and rubbish. If not managed correctly the landlord could be held partly responsible for this.
  • The landlord or house manager must by law be in control of the occupancy situation at all times. Tenants must not be allowed to come and go as they please without proper documentation - this in any case is in the landlord's interest for rent collection and eventual possession.

You should contact you own local authority (where the property is located) for confirmation of specific rules and regulations regarding HMOs.

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Window cill height increase is in current building regs for refurbishments and new builds. Just in case the darling tenants fall out of the window. Build cill higher and fit new window - yes lots of work.

Basement flats need own entrance or other means of escape, hard wired fire alarm and emergency lighting - just done this in my cellar conversion and got advice from the fire brigade.

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