Across England and Wales, there are approximately 497,000 Houses of Multiple Occupancy or HMOs. Private landlords own many of these. There are lots of benefits to renting out an HMO. However, there are also responsibilities. These include ensuring the property is safe and well maintained. To ensure this happens, it is important that they complete a multi-occupancy risk assessment in Kent regularly.

What is an HMO?

An HMO is a rental property with three or more tenants not from the same household. It must be their primary residence. They must also share the toilet, bathroom, or kitchen facilities. Examples include bedsits and shared houses. A house where one part is a rental property, e.g. a basement flat, may also be an HMO. If a landlord is unsure if their property is an HMO, their local authority can confirm this.

Multi-occupancy risk assessment in Kent: Legislation

Landlords must have a license from their local authority if they have five or more tenants in an HMO. They must also comply with the Housing Act 2004 and work within government legislation. For example, if a single-family home is converted to an HMO, it must meet Fire Safety in New, Extended or Altered Building regulations.

HMO risk assessments: what’s involved?

While risk assessments will vary dependent on the property, they generally include:

  • Fire safety, e.g. checking ignition sources and loading of electrical circuits, fire safety equipment, and means of escape.
  • Maintenance, e.g. working water/power supplies, ensuring common areas are kept clear, and lighting levels reduce risks of falls.
  • Structure, e.g. are there areas that need repair.

Completing a multi-occupancy risk assessment in Kent

To comply with legislation and keep their tenants and visitors safe, a landlord must complete a multi-occupancy risk assessment. They can do this themselves. However, to ensure compliance, it is better to use a Health & Safety specialist such as Risk Safety Services. To find out more, contact them today on 0343 523 0410.

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