HMO LICENSING INFORMATION PACK CONTENTS PAGE Page 3 HMO Licensing Guide Page 8 Cost of a Licence Page 9 Guidance on what is a 3 storey HMO Page 11 Example of Standard Plan Page 12 Guidance on completing fit and proper person section Page 13 Guidance on providing proof of suitable management arrangements Page 15 Code of Good Management Page 17 Landlord guide to Fire Risk Assessment Page 24 HMO standards Page 33 Appendix - Schedule of Permitted Cost Items and Explanatory note HMO LICENSING: A GUIDE FOR LANDLORDS WHAT IS LICENSING? The Housing Act 2004 has introduced changes to the regulation of HMOs through the introduction of licensing schemes. The introduction of HMO licensing aims to improve controls of HMOs and raise standards within some of the highest risk properties which house many vulnerable people. Licensing aims to ensure HMOs are adequately managed and risks to occupants reduced. WHAT IS A HMO? The Housing Act 2004 redefines a HMO as a building or part of a building (i.e. flat) which: · Is occupied by persons not forming a single household and; · Two or more households occupy and share one or more basic amenities (or lack such amenities); · Is occupied by more than one household and is a converted building not entirely comprising of self-contained flats; · Comprises entirely of self-contained flats and the conversion does not comply with the Building Regulations 1991 and less than 2/3 of the flats are owner occupied; · The HMO is occupied as the only or main residence; · Rents are payable or other consideration is provided in respect of at least 1 of those occupying the HMO. WHAT IS A SINGLE HOUSEHOLD? A single household includes members of the same family either by blood, marriage or other recognised means such as adoption or fostering. As an example, four friends sharing a student dwelling will be classed as four individual households and therefore a HMO. WHICH HMOS ARE LICENSABLE? Not all HMOs are to be subject to licensing. The Housing Act 2004 has introduced 3 licensing schemes which will regulate different types of HMOs. Mandatory Licensing: This scheme applies to all HMOs comprising of 3 or more storeys and occupied by 5 or more persons comprising of 2 or more households. All local authorities must introduce this type of licensing scheme. Additional Licensing: This scheme may be applied to smaller HMOs which fall outside the scope of Mandatory Licensing. Local authorities have discretion to introduce this type of licensing scheme where it is considered as a necessary means of improving conditions in smaller HMOs. Not currently in operation in Eastleigh. Selective Licensing: This scheme may be applied to any private rented property/housing within a designated area which is affected by low demand and/or anti-social behaviour. Local authorities have discretion to introduce this type of scheme where it is considered necessary. Not currently in operation in Eastleigh. EASTLEIGH BOROUGH COUNCIL HAS INTRODUCED A MANDATORY LICENSING SCHEME. THE MANDATORY SCHEME CAME INTO FORCE ON 6TH APRIL 2006. ARE ANY HMOS EXEMPT FROM LICENSING? Yes - HMOs exempt from mandatory licensing include: · HMOs which are less than 3 storey and/or provide accommodation for less than 5 people; · Buildings converted into self-contained flats which do not meet the 1991 building regulations and less than 2/3 are owner occupied. · Buildings managed by educational establishments, Local Housing Authorities, Registered Social Landlords, Police, Fire, Health Authority or regulated by other legislation such as residential care homes etc; · Buildings occupied by religious communities; · Buildings predominantly owner occupied, including residential landlords where the owner occupier (and family members) occupies the building (or flat) with no more than 2 other persons; · Buildings converted into self-contained flats, where the conversion meets 1991 Building Regulations. Also, other self contained flat conversions where there is no sharing of bathroom facilities. WHEN WILL A LANDLORD NEED TO APPLY FOR A LICENCE? In order to grant a licence the Council must be satisfied that: · The dwelling is reasonably suitable for occupation by no more than the permitted maximum number of households or persons; · The licence holder is a fit and proper person; · There are adequate management arrangements for the dwelling. Please note: Where a 3 storey property occupied by 5 people has one or more bedrooms that are below the minimum acceptable size, landlords must advise the Council of their intentions with regard to the undersized room(s). This may affect the need to make a licence application for the property. WHAT ARE TEMPORARY EXEMPTION NOTICES? Temporary Exemption Notices (TEN) are notices which temporarily exempt the dwelling from requiring a licence. These can be issued by the Council if they are satisfied that the person who is to be the licence holder, proposes to take steps to ensure the property no longer requires a licence within a short period of time. Examples of situations that may warrant a TEN are: · · · · Tenants have given notice that they are leaving within the next 3 months, which will bring the number of occupants down to less than 5. Planning permission has been granted and work is underway to convert the property into self contained units, where the building is already vacant. Planning permission has been granted and work is underway to convert the property into self contained units, where tenants are still in residence, but the work is due to complete within 3 months. Work is underway to convert the basement or attic, in a 3 storey building, from living accommodation into storage to which the tenants have no access, and where work will complete within 3 months. Please note that giving notice to quit to any tenants, specifically in order to reduce the numbers below 5, at any time after 6th April 2006, is an offence. Straightforward sale of the property to another person is unlikely to warrant a TEN, as the property will remain a licensable HMO throughout. If considered appropriate, a TEN will be issued for a period of 3 months and in this time, it will be the duty of the proposed licence holder to ensure that the property no longer requires a licence. In exceptional circumstances, a second TEN may be served providing a further 3 months' exemption. A maximum of 2 TENs may be served in total and, following the expiry of these notices, if the HMO still falls within the licensable criteria, an application for a licence must be made. WHAT IS A FIT AND PROPER PERSON? In deciding if an applicant is a fit and proper person, the Council will make enquiries relating to: · Any offences involving fraud, dishonesty, violence, drugs or offences listed in Schedule 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003; · Any discrimination practised in relation to sex, colour, race, ethnicity or disability; · Any contraventions of Housing or Landlord and Tenant legislation; · Failure to comply with Management Regulations in respect of HMOs. · Other relevant matters WHAT HAPPENS IF THE APPLICANT IS NOT A FIT AND PROPER PERSON? If the proposed licence holder is not deemed to be a fit and proper person, another person must be proposed as the licence holder. This person must be the most suitable person to hold the licence. The most suitable person must also qualify to be a fit and proper person, that is to say, they have not contravened any of the above pieces of legislation. Consideration will also be given to the following in each case: · Does any person involved in the management of the property have a sufficient level of competence to do so? · Are there proposed management structures and funding arrangements in place to manage and maintain the property? HOW LONG DOES A LICENCE LAST? If a licence is granted by the Council it cannot last longer than 5 years. It will be at the discretion of the Council to determine the length of a licence granted to each HMO. A licence may be issued for a reduced period for a number of reasons, for example: · · · · · Previous Housing Act 1985 notice(s) served, e.g. s189/190, where they indicate cumulative neglect in any of the landlord's properties Previous management notice(s) under s372 Housing Act 1985, where this shows serious neglect affecting the tenants' welfare in any of the landlord's properties Housing Act 2004, Part 1 notices served, where there are Category 1 hazards that indicate cumulative neglect in any of the landlord's properties Non-volunteered premises (i.e. if we have to find properties that need licensing and chase them to make a licence application) Serious misrepresentations or errors discovered, e.g. after site visit to check application details, in relation to any of the landlord's properties These issues may impact on the licence period issued for only one property or for a landlord's whole portfolio, depending on the number and seriousness of the issues identified. The licence fee will remain at the same level, regardless of the length of licence that is issued. This is because all of the same processes and checks need to be followed in order to issue the licence, whether it is for 2 years or 5 years. ARE THERE CONDITIONS ATTACHED TO A LICENCE? Minimum mandatory conditions to be included in a licence are: · To provide annual gas safety certificates; · To ensure safety of furniture and electrical appliances; · To install and maintain smoke alarms; · Carry out a full fire risk assessment · To provide tenants with a written statement of terms. The local authority may also attach additional conditions to licences relating to management, use and occupation, condition and contents of the property, etc. Such conditions may include: · Restrictions of use and occupation of parts of the property; · Steps to be taken to reduce anti-social behaviour; · Timescales and works to comply with HMO standards; · Attendance at training courses in relation to applicable codes of practice etc. CAN A LICENCE BE CHANGED? Yes - The terms set out in a licence may be varied by the Council at any time in the following circumstances: · With agreement of the licence holder; · Due to a change in circumstances since the licence was granted. A 'change in circumstance' would include: · Change to the property, perhaps extending it to create more units of accommodation. · Change in legislation since the licence was granted. · Change of manager, where the licence holder remains the same. WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO OPERATE AN UNLICENSED HMO? There are several offences in relation to licensing of HMOs which carry fines on conviction. If a HMO is operated without a licence, the person having control of, or person managing the dwelling is liable, on conviction for a maximum fine of £20,000. Breaching licence conditions is an offence and on conviction may lead to a maximum fine of £5,000 per condition breached, unless the breach is of overcrowding condition, which is subject to a maximum fine of up to £20,000. For example, if the licence stipulates the dwelling is to be occupied by no more than 7 people, but the property is found to be housing 8 people, this would be a breach of the conditions. Failure to carry out works specified by the council in the licence would also constitute breach of conditions. Management Orders If a property that should be licensed is not licensed, the Council must, in certain circumstances, make an Interim Management Order. This Order will allow the Council to manage the property and collect rent for the property. Rent collected for the property will be used to cover costs of managing the property and to carry out any necessary works. Examples of these circumstances are: · where there appears to be no reasonable prospect of the property being licensed in the near future; · where there is a risk to the health safety or welfare of occupants or persons in the vicinity; · when a licence has been revoked. There are also circumstances in which the Council has the power to make an interim management order, by applying to the Residential Property Tribunal, but these circumstances are not linked to mandatory HMO licensing. Additionally, tenants residing in an unlicensed HMO cannot be issued with a Section 21 'notice seeking possession' under the Housing Act 1988 to evict them from the property. This is an offence and landlords may be prosecuted in such cases. Rent Repayment Orders An application may be made to the Residential Property Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order if a landlord has committed the offence of operating a licensable HMO without a licence. If this is granted, the property owner/manager receiving rent payment has to repay the amount received during the time in which the HMO has been operating without a licence, up to a maximum of 12 months. The council may make this application where rent has been paid through Housing Benefit, but it is also possible for tenants to apply for a Rent Repayment Order to recover rent paid over the same period of time. HOW MUCH DOES A LICENCE COST? The basic fee applicable to mandatory licensable HMOs with 5 occupants is £785.00. This fee will increase depending on additional units of accommodation (i.e. £31.00 per unit), and any additional services required by officers to process the application. Each application will be charged on a specific case basis. For example, for an HMO with 8 units of accommodation, the basic fee will be £785.00. If the council is asked to produce plans for the landlord, there will be an additional fee of £84.00, making a total of £962.00. The applicable fees may also be reduced as a result of the following circumstances: · £30.00 reduction if block applications are made on the same day, by portfolio landlords; · £40.00 reduction if the proposed licence holder and any manager is a member of a Council recognised landlord or letting agent association; · £40.00 reduction if the property to which the licence applies is part of a Council recognised accreditation scheme. HMO licence fees will be reviewed annually and may increase as a result. Any increase in fees will be publicised before coming into force. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Additional information on licensing is available from the Department of Communities and Local Government website http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing or contact Eastleigh Borough Council's Private Sector Housing Team on 023 80 688329. WHAT COUNTS AS A PROPERTY OF 3 OR MORE STOREYS IN HEIGHT? The following examples are the most likely types of property which will be counted The following will not be counted as 3 or more storeys: GUIDANCE ON COMPLETING SECTION 9 OF THE APPLICATION FORM FIT & PROPER PERSON If you have answered 'yes' to any of the questions asked in section 9 of the application form, you will need to provide additional information on the page immediately following the questions. This guidance explains the type of information that you need to provide, in relation to each question. The letters below (a, b, c, etc) relate directly to the questions in section 9. a) Please state which person/persons has/have the unspent conviction(s) and what offence it is/they are in relation to. Please also provide the date of the offence(s), date of any court hearings and the address of the court hearing the case(s). b) Please specify the type of discrimination, i.e. sex, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, disability. Please give the date of the court or tribunal hearing and the address of the court hearing the case(s). c) If a works notice was not complied with, please specify the type of notice that was not complied with, the date on the notice and the address to which it related, e.g. Housing Act 1985 section 372, dated 1st April 2005 for number 1 Any Street. If landlord and tenant law was contravened, please explain how, the date of the occurrence and the address to which it relates, e.g. illegal eviction of tenants on 1st April 2005, from number 1 Any Street. Please give dates of any court hearings, address of the court hearing the case(s) and details (including dates) of any judgements made against the proposed licence holder. d) Please give the address of the property concerned and the date on which the order was made. Please also confirm whether the control order is still in force. e) Please give the address of the property or properties where a licence has been refused and the date of the decision. f) Please give the address of the property where licence conditions were breached and the date of the breach. Please also state which condition was breached, if known. g) Please state what action the licence holder has taken that is not in accordance with the Approved Code of Practice for Management. Please also give the date of the action and the address of the property that this action relates to. h) Please give the address of the property concerned and state what action/proceedings were taken by the local authority, including the dates and details of any works carried out in default. i) Please give the address of the property and type of order that has been made, including the date the order was made. GUIDANCE FOR LANDLORDS ON PROVIDING PROOF OF SUITABLE MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS Before a HMO licence can be issued, the Council must take a number of issues into account. Apart from the fit and proper person checks and establishing that the property is suitable for multiple occupation, the following issues must also be considered: · · Whether any person proposed to be involved in the management of the house has a sufficient level of competence to be so involved; Whether any proposed management structures and funding arrangements are suitable (Section 66, Housing Act 2004) If the landlord/manager is not competent and/or the proposed management and funding arrangements are not suitable, then the council cannot grant a licence. However, some minor management failures will not necessarily mean that the landlord/manager is not competent and a licence may be issued with conditions. In order to prove that you/your manager are competent and that you have suitable management structures and funding arrangements in place, you may need to provide copies of certain documents, as explained in the table below. Failure to provide evidence of competence and/or suitable management and funding arrangements may delay your application being processed and may result in additional costs being added to your licence fee. On receipt of the relevant paperwork, the council will make a decision about whether a licence can be issued (with or without conditions) or whether there are significant management failures that mean that a licence cannot be issued. If a decision is made that a licence cannot be issued, you will be contacted by the Council to advise of the reasons for the decision and to explain what you should do next. If you have any queries about this matter that you feel have not been answered by the information provided, please contact: Housing and Environmental Health Eastleigh Borough Council Eastleigh House Upper Market Street Eastleigh SO50 9YN Tel: 023 80 688329 MATTER TO BE CONSIDERED GUIDANCE NOTES Are persons involved with the property management competent? · · · Are there suitable management structures in place? · · · · · · · Are there suitable funding arrangements in place? · · · 'Amongst other things' · · Evidence of compliance with mandatory conditions (see section 16 of the application form) Certificate of attendance at relevant landlord training course Evidence of suitable management structures and funding arrangements (see below) Evidence of compliance with mandatory conditions (see section 16 of the application form) Copy of current, signed tenancy agreement for property in question. Should not include any unfair terms Declaration that inventories are used and a copy of a current, signed inventory for property in question Evidence of compliance with mandatory conditions (see section 16 of the application form) Repairs procedures - details of agreement in place between landlord and tenants for property in question (this may be in the tenancy agreement). Complaints procedures - Declaration of how complaints from tenants/neighbours etc, about issues relating to the house and/or tenant behaviour. Planned programme of site visits/inspections Evidence of compliance with mandatory conditions (see section 16 of the application form) Deposits - Information on length of time between tenants leaving and deposits being returned. Explanation of what deposit deductions may be made for and whether written reasons and receipts are provided. Repairs procedures - details of agreement in place between landlord and tenants for property in question (this may be in the tenancy agreement). Compliance with any approved code of practice made by Government, in relation to HMO management (none in place at present). Compliance with any code of good management practice issued by Eastleigh Borough Council (none in place at present). Eastleigh Borough Council Code of Good Management Practice 1. Conduct The landlord agrees to conduct business with regard to the property and the tenancy in a courteous, reasonable and equitable manner and to promptly answer any queries and issues raised by the tenant and/or the local authority. 2. Inventories The landlord agrees to ensure that an inventory is signed by both parties at the beginning of the tenancy (or as soon as practicable afterwards) and to give the tenant the opportunity both to carry out a joint inventory inspection at the outset and the end of the tenancy. Additionally, the tenant should be given the opportunity to discuss the inventory at the end of the tenancy. 3. Deposits From 6 April 2007, all deposits (for rent up to £25,000 per annum) taken by landlords and letting agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales, must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. Information on tenancy deposit protection is available from the Department of Communities and Local Government website http://www.communities.gov.uk. 4. Repairs and maintenance The landlord agrees to carry out repairs within a time period appropriate to the severity of the problem, keeping as far as is practicable to the guide timescales given below*. The landlord agrees to uphold, as far as practicable, all undertakings given on work to be completed prior to the tenant moving in, to consult the tenant when planning other major maintenance work during the tenancy and to give reasonable notice (except in emergencies) and details of any work, servicing or testing to be carried out. The landlord agrees to set up effective monitoring arrangements to check the condition of the building and installations. 5. Landlord's access to property and other statutory requirements The landlord agrees to comply with all statutory obligations under housing and landlord and tenant legislation, associated regulations, Codes of Practice and British Standards. This includes the legal requirement to gain access to the property (for inspection, repairs, monitoring or other relevant reasons) only by prior arrangement with the tenant/s and having given at least 24 hours notice (except in emergencies). 6. General management The landlord agrees to take reasonable steps to minimise any nuisance, alarm, harassment or distress that may be caused to neighbours by the way the property is used. The landlord agrees to offer occupiers of the immediately neighbouring properties a contact telephone number, address, or e-mail address to report any problems; to ensure that 'To Let' or 'Let' boards are not left up long term; to keep the external appearance of the property in a reasonable conditions and to make reasonable arrangements for the storage and disposal of refuse. *Guide to repair timescales once a fault has been reported Emergency repairs - 24 hours (Affecting health or safety, e.g. major gas or electrical fault, blocked WC) Urgent repairs - 5 working days (Affecting material comfort, e.g hot water, heating, roof leak) Other repairs (non-urgent) - 20 working days LANDLORD GUIDE TO FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT IN HMOs The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) came into force on 1st October 2006. It is enforced by the Fire and Rescue Service. It consolidates much of their previous fire safety legislation into one document, but also provides some new duties and responsibilities for various parties, including landlords. This includes a duty to carry out a fire risk assessment in HMOs. You are being asked by Eastleigh Borough Council to complete a fire risk assessment for each of the properties that you submit a mandatory HMO licence application for, at present. However, the duty to carry out a fire risk assessment is not restricted to mandatory licensable HMOs, so you must carry out this process for all HMOs that you own. The attached form is provided for you to record your fire risk assessment findings and return copies to the Private Sector Housing Service together with your licence application. Any fire risk assessments carried out on properties which are not subject to mandatory HMO licensing should be retained by you. The notes below explain your duties and responsibilities, how to carry out your assessment and the type of information you need to provide. Responsibility for complying with the Order This responsibility lies with the 'responsible person' as defined in the Order. In relation to any premises which is not a workplace, this means, "(i) the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertaking…., or (ii) the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or undertaking." The responsible person will be the property owner in most cases, unless there is a manager who is in control of the business of operating the HMO. If there is more than one responsible person for the building (e.g. in premises with parts owned by different people), all must take reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other. What you need to do If you are the responsible person, you must carry out a fire risk assessment which must focus on the safety in case of fire of all 'relevant persons'. Relevant persons means(a) any person (including the responsible person) who is or may be lawfully on the premises; and (b) any person in the immediate vicinity of the premises who is at risk from a fire on the premises, The assessment should pay particular attention to those at special risk, such as disabled people, those who you know have special needs, and children. You must also include consideration of any dangerous substance likely to be on the premises. In relation to licensed premises (including HMOs), the significant findings of the fire risk assessment, the actions to be taken as a result of the assessment and the details of anyone especially at risk, must be recorded. Other duties that you will need to comply with · You must appoint a 'competent person' to carry out any of the preventive and protective measures required by the Order. A 'competent person' is someone with enough training and experience or knowledge and other qualities, to be able to implement these measures properly. You can nominate yourself for this purpose. · You must inform occupants and contractors working in the premises, etc of the relevant risks to them and provide them with information about who the nominated competent person is and about the fire safety procedures for the premises. · You must co-operate and co-ordinate with other responsible persons who also have premises in the building, inform them of any significant risks you find and how you will seek to reduce/control those risks which might affect the safety of people in their part of the building. · You must provide the employer of any person from an outside organisation who is working in your premises (e.g. building contractor, electrician, etc) with clear and relevant information on the risks to those employees and the preventive and protective measures taken. You must also provide those employees with appropriate instructions and relevant information about the risks to them. · You must consider the presence of any dangerous substances and the risk this presents to relevant persons from fire. · You must establish a suitable means of contacting the emergency services and provide them with any relevant information about dangerous substances. · You must ensure that the premises and any equipment provided in connection with fire-fighting, fire detection and warning, or emergency routes and exits are covered by a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained by a competent person in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. What is a fire risk assessment? It is an organised and methodical look at your premises, the activities carried on there and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in and around the premises. The aims of the fire risk assessment are: · To identify the fire hazards · To reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable · To decide what physical fire precautions and management arrangements are necessary to ensure the safety of people in your premises if a fire does start. A 'hazard' is anything that has the potential to cause harm. A 'risk' is the chance of that harm occurring. How to carry out a fire risk assessment There are 5 main steps to completing a fire risk assessment. These are listed below: 1. IDENTIFY THE HAZARDS · Sources of ignition · Sources of fuel · Sources of oxygen 2. IDENTIFY PEOPLE AT RISK · People in and around the premises · People especially at risk 3. EVALUATE, REMOVE, REDUCE AND PROTECT FROM RISK · Evaluate the risk of a fire occurring · Evaluate the risk to people from fire · Remove or reduce fire hazards · Remove or reduce the risks to people through · Detection and warning · Fire-fighting · Escape routes · Lighting · Signs and notices · Maintenance 4. RECORD, PLAN, INFORM, INSTRUCT AND TRAIN · Record significant findings and action taken · Prepare an emergency plan · Inform and instruct relevant people; co-operate and co-ordinate with · Provide training others 5. REVIEW · Keep assessment under review · Revise where necessary The following information gives more detail and examples of the type of things you need to consider and do when carrying out your fire risk assessment. Step 1 - Identify fire hazards · Sources of ignition · Cigarettes, matches · Naked flames, eg candles · Electric, gas or oil fired heaters · Boilers · Cookers · Lighting equipment · Arson · Sources of fuel · Furniture, textiles and soft furnishings · Waste products and waste storage · Flammable liquid based products, eg paint, varnish · Flammable chemicals, eg cleaning products · Paper products, including decorations · Plastics and rubber · Sources of oxygen · The main source of oxygen is in the air around us. In an enclosed building this is provided by the ventilation system in use. This is normally through doors and windows or via mechanical air conditioning systems. · Other sources may be some chemicals, oxygen supplies from cylinder storage. Step 2 - Identify people at risk · Identify the occupants of the premises, who else may be at risk, and where these people are likely to be found. · People asleep · People who are unfamiliar with the premises, eg visitors, contractors · Children and young people · People with disabilities and people who may not be able to leave the premises quickly, e.g. parents with children · People who are impaired due to drugs, alcohol or medication · Other people in the immediate vicinity of your premises Step 3 - Evaluate, remove, reduce and protect from risk · Evaluate the risk of fire occurring · Chances of a fire starting will be low if your premises has few ignition sources and combustible materials are kept away from them · Look critically at your premises and try to identify ant accidents waiting to happen and any acts or omissions which might allow a fire to start. You should also look for any situation that present an opportunity for an arsonist. · Evaluate the risk to people. Consider situations such as: · Fire starting on a lower floor affecting the only escape route for people on upper floors or the only escape route for people with disabilities · Fire starting in an unoccupied space that people have to pass by to escape from the building · Fire or smoke spreading through a building via routes such as ventilation systems, poorly installed or maintained partitions and ceilings, poorly installed fire precautions, fire doors being wedged open. · Remove or reduce the hazards. E.g. · Replace portable heaters with fixed convector heaters or a central heating system · Ensure electrical and gas items are used and maintained in accordance with manufacturer's instructions · Ensure electric fuses and circuit breakers are of the correct rating. And sockets are not overloaded · Ensure no one carrying out work on gas fittings that contain/have contained gas uses any source of ignition · Ensure combustible items, e.g. furniture, decorations, etc are stored away from potential ignition sources such as boilers · Reduce the amount of combustible materials and have a system for storing and disposing of combustible waste · Ensure flammable materials are kept to a minimum and are stored properly · Keep doors and windows closed if not required for ventilation · Remove or reduce the risks to people · Provide early warning of fire using automatic fire detection · · · · Revise the layout to reduce travel distances Reduce fire risk by removing or reducing combustible materials and/or ignition sources Control the number of people in the premises Increase awareness among relevant people Step 4 - Record, plan, inform, instruct and train · Record the significant findings and action taken. E.g. · The fire hazards you have identified · The actions you have taken or will take to remove or reduce the chance of a fire occurring (preventive measures). A plan may be useful here. · Persons who may be at risk · Actions you have taken or will take to reduce the risk to people · Actions people need to take in case of fire · The information, instruction and training you have identified that people need and how it will be given · Emergency plans · This is to ensure people know what to do if there is a fire and that the premises can be safely evacuated. · Based on the outcome of your fire risk assessment. · In simple premises, the emergency plan may be no more than a fire action notice. In more complex premises this will need to be more detailed. · Inform, instruct, co-operate and co-ordinate · Give information about fire safety arrangements as soon as possible, e.g. when tenants move in · Make sure the information and instructions can be understood. They should take account of disabilities, such as hearing and sight impairment, learning difficulties and those whose first language is not English. · Liaise with other parties who have responsibility for parts of your building (if applicable) and inform them of any significant risks you have identified. · Co-ordinate your resources with other parties (if applicable) to ensure that your actions do not place others at risk and that your co-ordinated emergency plan operates effectively · Fire Safety Training · Take account of the findings of the fire risk assessment · Explain your emergency procedures, e.g how to raise the alarm, what to do when hearing the alarm, etc. · Must be easily understandable Step 5 - Review · · · Constantly monitor what you are doing to implement the fire risk assessment and to assess how effectively the risk is being controlled. The risk assessment should be reviewed at least annually If you think that your fire risk assessment is no longer valid or there has been a significant change in your premises that has affected your fire precautions, you will need to review your assessment and if necessary, revise it. Records of testing, maintenance and training are useful when reviewing the risk assessment. Contacts and further information This guidance is only a brief summary of what you need to do. If you wish to obtain the full guidance document, "Fire Safety Risk Assessment. Sleeping Accommodation", you can do so by contacting the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) at: DCLG Publications PO Box 236 Wetherby West Yorkshire LS23 7NB Tel: 0870 8307099 Fax: 0870 1226237 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The document is also available on the DCLG website at: www.firesafetyguides.communities.gov.uk Guidance on carrying out a fire risk assessment is also detailed in LACORS (Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services) Housing Fire Safety guidance (August, 2008). A copy of this guidance may be downloaded from www.lacors.gov.uk, alternatively hard copies may be purchased by completing an online order form If you require any further information on fire risk assessments you should contact Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service who are the enforcing body of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. GUIDANCE ON STANDARDS FOR HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION EASTLEIGH BOROUGH COUNCIL GUIDANCE ON STANDARDS FOR HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION (HMOS) Introduction These standards assist landlords and developers to design, improve and maintain HMOs to a reasonable standard. These standards cover both licensed and non-licensable HMOs. The standards may be revised from time to time. To ensure that these standards are current. New editions of the standards will be re-dated. Enquiries about HMOs can be made to the Housing and Environmental Health, Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh, SO50 9YN, Tel. No. 02380 688329. There is considerable diversity in the way that HMOs are occupied and in the health and safety risks that may be present. This advice therefore suggests standards that are appropriate for a wide range of the most common types of HMO. The advisory standards are flexible and can be adapted to suit circumstances. The exception is in regard to licensed HMOs where national minimum HMO standards must be complied with and in particular the level of bathroom, WC and wash hand basin provision. As part of the HMO licensing process, the council can discuss with landlords any variations from the standards that may be appropriate for a particular HMO. WHAT IS A HOUSE IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION? The Housing Act 2004 redefines a HMO as a building or part of a building (i.e. flat) which: · · · · · · Is occupied by persons not forming a single household and; Two or more households occupy and share one or more basic amenities (or lack such amenities); Is occupied by more than one household and is a converted building not entirely comprising of self-contained flats; Comprises entirely of self-contained flats and the conversion does not comply with the Building Regulations 1991 and less than 2/3 of the flats are owner occupied; The HMO is occupied as the only or main residence; Rents are payable or other consideration is provided in respect of at least 1 of those occupying the HMO. WHAT IS A SINGLE HOUSEHOLD? A single household includes members of the same family either by blood, marriage or other recognised means such as adoption or fostering. As an example, four friends sharing a student dwelling will be classed as four individual households and therefore a HMO. EXPLANATION OF CATEGORIES OF HMOs The number of amenities and the health and safety standards that are appropriate for an HMO are related to the differing needs of different types of occupiers. These standards take this into account and suggest different standards for different categories of HMOs as described below: Category A HMOs These are HMOs comprising parts that are rented as individual lettings with exclusive use of certain rooms. Occupiers may share washing, WC and kitchen facilities, but do not usually have a communal living room. The occupiers of this type of HMO tend to live completely independently of each other. Individuals or households may have a letting agreement that specifies the part(s) of the accommodation that they may occupy. Typical examples are: 1. Single room bedsits - may have exclusive use of, or may share, personal washing, WC and kitchen facilities 2. Flatlets - multi-room lettings sharing some personal washing, WC and kitchen facilities. Category B HMOs These are HMOs that are rented to a group of people, commonly students or young professional adults, who may be on a group/joint contract. Occupiers share personal washing, WC and kitchen/dining facilities and usually have a communal living room. The occupiers of this type of HMO tend not to live completely independently of each other and may operate communally. Hostels These are HMOs that are generally referred to as hostels, guest houses, or bed & breakfast accommodation which provide accommodation for people with no other permanent place of residence. The category includes hostel and bed and breakfast establishments used by local authorities for housing homeless people, or similar establishments which provide accommodation for single people whose only financial support is state benefit and who would otherwise be homeless. General notes to be read in conjunction with the HMO standards provided on the next pages No kitchen facility should be more than one floor distant from the users of that facility. This will not apply if a communal living space or dining space is available on the same floor, or is not more than one floor away from the kitchen. No personal washing or WC facility should be more than one floor distant in the case of a category A HMO, or two floors distant in the case of a category B HMO, from the users of those facilities. A small household is one that consists of no more than 2 persons. Sleeping rooms should not be occupied by more than 2 persons. No persons should share a room unless: · · · they are married, or living together as if married they are parent and child (as long as the child is the same sex as the parent, or the child is under 10 years of age if opposite sex) they are members of the same family and are both of the same sex, e.g. 2 brothers (if below 10 years of age, opposite sexes can share a room) There may be exceptions to the above sharing rule in bona fide hostels and similar establishments. Advice should be sought from the Council in these cases. The term 'bathroom', as used in the standards, normally means a bathroom containing a bath or shower, a WC and a wash hand basin. The basin should be of an adequate size for normal personal hygiene purposes including personal washing, the cleaning of teeth and shaving. A wash hand basin with a constant adequate supply of hot and cold running water must be provided for each WC. If the WC is separate from a bathroom then a small hand rinse basin will suffice. A standard cooking appliance should comprise four rings or hot plates, an oven and a grill. Microwave ovens may be satisfactory as supplementary cooking appliances but should not be the only cooking appliances. The advisory room sizes do not include any en-suite bathroom facilities that may be provided, and do not include any floor area that is not effectively useable, for example, where the ceiling slopes to a low level. An appliance with 2 rings or hot plates and oven is satisfactory for a one person unit of accommodation. Sinks must be provided with a draining board and adequate constant supplies of hot and cold running water. The provision of a second sink in a shared HMO may not be necessary if a dishwasher is provided. Private Sector Housing Services will advise in these circumstances. CATEGORY A & B HMOs - SHARED PERSONAL WASHING & WC FACILITIES Bathroom WC Wash hand basins CATEGORY A HMO CATEGORY B HMO 1 per 5 occupiers 1 per 5 occupiers In licensable HMOs 1 WHB to be provided within each letting where it is reasonably practicable. It will be the responsibility of the landlord to demonstrate that is not reasonably practicable for WHB to be provided in each room. Regard should be had to the age and character of the HMO, the size and layout of each room and its existing provision for WHBs toilets and bathrooms. A wash hand basin must be provided with every WC Heating Adequate and suitable heating to be provided. Ventilation Adequate and suitable ventilation to be provided KITCHEN FACILITIES STANDARDS FACILITY Cooker Sink Adequate no. of suitably located electrical power points (adjacent to worktop) Worktops Dry food storage Refrigerated storage Extractor fan CATEGORY A 1 for up to 5 occupiers. The addition of a microwave oven will allow the facilities to be used by up to 7 persons. If there are more than 7 occupants, 2 cookers must be provided, for use by up to 10 occupants. 1 for up to 5 occupiers. 4 single sockets or 2 double sockets are required for every 3 occupiers/small households. Additional sockets are needed for a cooker or refrigerator. 2m x 0.5m per 3 occupiers/small households. Double wall unit or single base unit (0.16m3) for each occupier/small household. Storage in communal areas to be lockable. Standard sized fridge (0.15m3) with adequate freezer compartment per occupier/small household. If no freezer compartment in the fridge, separate freezers should be provided. Storage in communal areas to be lockable. To be provided CATEGORY B 1 for up to 5 occupiers. The addition of a microwave oven will allow the facilities to be used by up to 7 persons. If there are more than 7 occupants, 2 cookers must be provided, for use by up to 10 occupants. 1 for up to 5 occupiers. 4 single sockets or 2 double sockets per 5 occupiers. Additional sockets are needed for a cooker or refrigerator. 2m x 0.5m per 5 occupiers. Single wall unit per occupier (0.08m3) Standard sized fridge (0.15m3) per 5 occupiers. Separate standard sized freezer should be provided per 5 occupiers. To be provided Fire door to shared kitchen Fire blanket Storage space for crockery & kitchen utensils 30 minute self closing fire door set with cold smoke seals and intumescent strip To be supplied and wall mounted, but not to be sited immediately adjacent to or over a cooker Adequate cupboard and/or drawer space 30 minute self closing fire door set with cold smoke seals and intumescent strip To be supplied and wall mounted, but not to be sited immediately adjacent to or over a cooker Adequate cupboard and/or drawer space CATEGORY A CATEGORY B SPACE STANDARDS ROOM(S) 13 m2 including kitchen facilities for exclusive use. 10 m2 where separate shared kitchen 16.5 m2 including kitchen One room unit for a facilities for exclusive use. co-habiting couple 14m2 where separate shared kitchen. Two or more roomed unit for Kitchen - 4.5m2 Living / kitchen - 11m2 one person Living room - 9m2 Bedroom - 6.5m2 Bed/living room - 10m2 Two or more roomed unit for Kitchen - 7 m2 Living / kitchen - 15 m2 two persons living as a Living room - 12m2 single household Bedroom - 10m2 Bed/living room - 14m2 7m2 for up to 5 occupants. Shared kitchens 10m2 for 6 - 10 occupants. Not applicable Bedroom/study One room unit for one person Dining/kitchen Communal living room Not usually applicable.Check with Private Sector Housing if dining/kitchen present. Not usually applicable. Check with Private Sector Housing if living room present. Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable 7m2 for up to 5 occupants. 10m2 for 6 - 10 occupants. 10m2 except where a separate communal living room is provided in which case the bedroom may be 6.5 m2 11.5 m2 for up to 5 occupants. 19.5m2 for 6 - 10 occupants. 12 m2 for up to 5 occupants. 16.5 m2 for 6 - 10 occupants. STANDARDS FOR HOSTELS SHARED PERSONAL WASHING, WC AND KITCHEN FACILITIES Bathroom WC Wash hand basin Cooker Sink 1 per 5 occupiers 1 per 5 occupiers In licensable HMOs 1 WHB to be provided within each letting where it is reasonably practicable. It will be the responsibility of the landlord to demonstrate that is not reasonably practicable for WHB to be provided in each room. Regard should be had to the age and character of the HMO, the size and layout of each room, and its existing provision for WHBs toilets and bathrooms. A wash hand basin must be provided with every WC 1 cooker for up to 3 lettings. 2 cookers for up to 10 lettings and one cooker per additional 5 lettings thereafter. 1 sink for up to 3 lettings.2 sinks for up to 10 lettings and one sink per additional 5 lettings thereafter. SPACE STANDARDS FOR HOSTELS ROOM(S) 1 person 2 persons Kitchen facilities located within the letting Shared kitchens (for use by occupants) Kitchen/dining rooms Lounge/dining area MINIMUM ROOM SIZE 6.5m2 if communal area provided. 9m2 if no communal area. 10m2 if communal area provided. 13m2 if no communal area. Add 3m2 to each of the room sizes given above 7m2 for up to 5 occupants. 10m2 for 6 - 10 occupants. If more than 10 occupants sharing, contact the Private Sector Housing Team for guidance. 11.5m2 for up to 5 persons. 19.5 m2 for 6-10 persons. If more than 10 occupants sharing, contact the Private Sector Housing Team for guidance. 12m2 for up to 5 persons. 16.5m2 for 6-10 persons. Dining space to be in close proximity to kitchen. If more than 10 occupants sharing, contact the Private Sector Housing Team for guidance. Fire Safety Precautions in HMOs Guidance on fire safety precautions required in HMOs is detailed in LACORS (Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services) Housing Fire Safety guidance (August, 2008). A copy of this guidance may be downloaded from www.lacors.gov.uk, alternatively hard copies may be purchased by completing an online order form. To ensure compliance with the Local Authority's requirements prior to carrying out any fire safety precaution works landlords should provide details of proposed works (including a plan) in writing to: Housing and Environmental Health, Civic Offices, Leigh Road, Eastleigh, SO50 9YN and await confirmation that these meet with the Local Authority's requirements.