Flat Conversions and Houses In Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If you are thinking of buying a flat forming part of a converted building you should be aware that it may constitute a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). If you become a Director of the Management Company which owns the Freehold than you may have a shared duty to ensure the property meets certain standards.

Under section 257 Housing Act 2004, certain converted blocks of flats may be an HMO. (A purpose-built block of flats is not an HMO because the building must have been “converted” into self contained flats.)

A converted block of flats is an HMO if it meets the following criteria:

1. Building work undertaken in connection with the conversion did not comply with the Building Regulations 1991 (or regulations that applied after if the conversion was after 1st June 1992) and still does not comply with them and
2. less than two-thirds of the self contained flats are owner-occupied

HMO regulations place duties on a person managing a Section 257 HMO in respect of:

1. Providing information to occupiers (regulation 4);
2. Taking safety measures, including fire safety measures (regulation 5);
3. Maintaining the water supply and drainage (regulation 6);
4. Supplying and maintaining gas and electricity, including having it regularly inspected (regulation 7);
5. Maintaining common parts, fixtures,fittings and appliances (regulation 8);
6. Providing waste disposal facilities (regulation 10).

Fire Safety in common parts of a building is covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO). A short guide is available here: Fire Safety Guide

Installation of a building-wide fire detection and alarm system is fundamental to fire safety. Further information is available by clicking on the following link: Fire Alarms for HMOs