Guide to amenity standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation

This document provides proposed licence holders and their managers with a guide to the standards required in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).  These are the standards we use in HMO licensing and they are also recommendations for other types of rented property.

There are a set of national minimum standards about bedroom sizes and washing facilities (toilets and bathrooms).  These are prescriptive standards and we must apply these when setting the number of occupants permitted in the house on a HMO licence.  We also use this locally adopted guidance as providing a baseline that ensures that HMO occupiers have safe and convenient access to facilities within in their home. The Council will normally expect amenities in the property to meet the guidance set out in this document.

Where the property is an HMO or another type of rented property that does not require a licence, all sections of the standards can be taken as guidance. Officers will have regard to the guidance in this document when considering those amenities not prescribed by law and in assessing hazards at the property. National standards and local guidance are clearly marked as such in the following pages.

All properties shall be free of Category 1 hazards, as determined using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). A category 1 hazard is a serious risk to health or safety, which the Council has a duty to ensure is removed.

Heating

Description of legislation

The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006. Regulation 8 and Schedule 3

Each bedroom or bedsit within the HMO shall be equipped with an adequate means of space heating

Locally agreed guidance

We believe this can be achieved by providing the following:

  • heating appliances capable of maintaining an internal temperature of 19 °C when the outside temperature is -1 °C
  • the heating appliance is controllable by the occupier, either directly or by the use of features such as thermostatic radiator valves
  • heating appliances should be permanently fixed (not portable) to reduce the risk of fire

Adverse health effects are known to begin once the internal temperature falls below 19 °C. It is is important that occupiers have control of temperature in their individual rooms.

Our locally agreed standard requires that each shower room or bathroom requires a suitable fixed heating appliance capable of maintaining the room at a temperature of 19 °C when the outside temperature if -1 °C, unless deemed unnecessary upon inspection. As a guide, bathrooms with externals walls should have heating, to reduce the likelihood of localised spots of excessively hot or cold conditions in the building that may cause harm to health and also to help reduce condensation.

When selecting heating arrangements, take into account any existing insulation.

Personal Washing Facilities and toilets

Description of legislation

The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006. Regulation 8 and Schedule 3 (2), as amended by the Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007

Where occupiers are sharing bathing and toilet facilities, there must be:

  • an adequate number of baths/showers, toilets and wash-hand basins suitable for personal washing for the number of persons sharing these facilities; and
  • where reasonably practicable there must be a wash hand basin with appropriate splashback in each occupiers living accommodation.

Locally agreed guidance

The following guidance has been agreed, so that occupiers are able to access these facilities without unnecessary delay.

For 1-4 persons using communal facilities, there must be:

  • at least one bathroom containing either a fixed bath or shower; and
  • one toilet. The toilet may be contained within the bathroom. Alternatively, it may be contained in a separate compartment with its own wash hand basin.

For 5 people using communal facilities, there must be:

  • at least one bathroom containing either a fixed bath or shower; and
  • a toilet in a separate compartment with a wash hand basin (this toilet may be contained within a second bathroom)

For 6-10 persons using communal facilities, there must be:

  • at least two bathrooms containing either a fixed bath or shower; and
  • two separate toilets in rooms containing wash hand basins (one of the toilets may be contained in one of the bathrooms).

For 11-15 persons using communal facilities, there must be

  • at least three bathrooms containing either a fixed bath or shower; and
  • three separate toilets in rooms containing wash hand basins (two of these toilets may be contained within two of the bathrooms).

In cases where an occupier has exclusive access to their own toilet, wash hand basin and shower/bath within their own unit of accommodation, they will not count towards the number of people using the communal bathing and toilet amenities.

Further guidance on the facilities required:

  • These facilities shall be not more than two floors distant from any user
  • Each toilet shall have a wash hand basin within the same compartment, to be supplied with constant hot and cold water supplies and a splashback.
  • Bath or shower rooms should provide enough space for the facilities and for safe changing and drying. The flooring around the shower/bath must be both slip- and water-resistant. It is not acceptable to have an unscreened bath or shower in a bedroom.
  • Baths, showers and toilets shall not be provided in rooms containing facilities for the storage, preparation and cooking of food.
  • A suitably located extractor fan or a window (opening to outside) must be present.
  • A bath must have minimum dimensions 1700 mm x 760 mm .  A shower must have minimum dimensions 800 mm x 800 mm.
  • A two course tiled splash back is to be provided to any bath. Any shower cubicle should have fully tiled walls or be self-standing cubicles.
  • The walls and floor of any bathroom or shower room should be reasonably smooth and non-absorbent and capable of being readily cleaned.
  • The hot and cold water should be adequate and available at all times.

We will assess the need for wash hand basins in each room based on ease of installation and cost. As an alternative to wash hand basins in each room, the Council considers the following to be acceptable:

 1-4 occupiers – the bathroom should contain a wash hand basin

5-10 occupiers – at least one bathroom should contain a wash hand basin

11-15 occupiers – at least two of the bathrooms should contain a wash hand basin.

Please note, any room containing a toilet must also contain a wash hand basin.

  • Where the installation of additional amenities are required as a condition of a HMO licence (in particular bathrooms), licence holders must be aware of the minimum room sizes, to ensure that the installation of the bathroom or other amenity does not result in another room becoming too small to use.
  • Planning Permission or Building Regulations approval may be required; in particular, building works and the installation of bathrooms and other facilities requiring drainage will require building regulation approval.
  • The granting of a HMO licence or compliance with the HMO standards in this guide does not mean that planning permission or building regulations approval will be granted. Planning Control and Building Control enforce these requirements under separate