HMO management regulations

Explanatory notes

These regulations apply to Houses in Multiple Occupation (“HMOs”) in England but do not apply to converted blocks of flats to which section 257 of the Act applies.

These are buildings that have been converted into and consist of self-contained flats where the building work undertaken in connection with the conversion did not comply with the appropriate building standards and still does not comply with them, and less than two-thirds of the self-contained flats are owner occupied.

The Regulations impose duties on a person managing an HMO in respect of:

  • Providing information to occupiers;
  • Taking safety measures, including fire safety measures;
  • Maintaining the water supply and drainage;
  • Supplying and maintaining gas supplies, including having it regularly inspected;
  • Maintaining common parts, fixtures, fittings and appliances;
  • Maintaining living accommodation; and
  • Providing waste disposal facilities

Regulation 10 imposes duties on occupiers of an HMO for the purpose of ensuring that the person managing it can effectively carry out the duties imposed on him by these regulations.

A person who fails to comply with these Regulations commits an offence under section 234(3) of the Housing Act 2004, punishable on conviction with a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (currently unlimited).

The Secretary of State, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 234 of the Housing Act 2004(1), makes the following Regulations:

1. Citation, commencement and application


These Regulations may be cited as The Management of HMOs (England) Regulations 2005 and shall come into force on 6th April 2006.


These Regulations apply to any HMO(2) in England other than a converted block of flats to which section 257 of the Act applies.

2. Interpretation


In these Regulations:

  • (a) “the Act” means the Housing Act 2004;
  • (b) “fixtures, fittings or appliances” are
    • (i) lighting, space heating or water heating appliances;
    • (ii) toilets, baths, showers, sinks or wash hand basins or any cupboards, shelving, or fittings supplied in a bathroom or lavatory;
    • (iii) cupboards, shelving or appliances used for storage, preparation or cooking of food; and
    • (iv) washing machines or other laundry appliances; and
  • (c) “the manager”, in relation to an HMO, means the person managing the (3) HMO.

Provision of information to occupants

3. The manager must ensure that:

  • (a) his name, address and any telephone contact number is made available to each household in the HMO.
  • (b) such details are clearly displayed in a prominent position in the HMO.

Safety measures


The manager must ensure that all means of escape from fire in the HMO are:

  • (a) kept free from obstruction; and
  • (b) maintained in good order and repair


The manager must ensure that all fire fighting equipment and fire alarms are maintained in good working order.


Subject to paragraph (6), the manager must ensure that notices indicating the means of escape from fire are displayed in positions within the HMO that enable them to be clearly visible to the occupiers.


The manager must take all such measures as are reasonably required, to protect the occupiers of the HMO from injury, having regard to:

  • (a) the design of the HMO;
  • (b) the structural conditions in the HMO; and
  • (c) the number of occupiers in the HMO.


In performing the duties imposed in paragraph (4) the manager must in particular:

  • (a) in relation to any roof or balcony that is unsafe, either ensure that it is made safe or take all reasonable measures to prevent access to it for so long as it remains unsafe; and
  • (b) in relation to any window the sill of which is at or near floor level, ensure that bars or other such safeguards as may be necessary be provided to protect the occupiers against the danger of accidents which may be caused in connection with such windows.


The duty imposed by paragraph (3) does not apply where the HMO has four or fewer occupiers.

Water supply and drainage


The manager must ensure that the water supply and drainage system serving the HMO is maintained in good, clean and working condition and in particular must ensure that:

  • (a) any tank, cistern or similar receptacle used for the storage of water for drinking or other domestic purposes is kept in a good, clean working condition, with a cover kept over it to keep the water in a clean and proper condition; and
  • (b) any water fitting which is liable to damage by frost is protected from frost damage.


The manager must not unreasonably cause or permit the water or drainage supply that is used by any occupier at the HMO to be interrupted.


In this regulation “water fitting” means a pipe, tap, cock, valve, ferrule, meter, cistern, bath, water closet or soil pan used in connection with the supply or use of water, but the reference in this definition to a pipe does not include an overflow pipe or mains supply pipe.

Gas and electricity


The manager must supply to the local housing authority within 7 days of receiving a request in writing from that authority the latest gas appliance test certificate it has received in relation to the testing of any gas appliance at the HMO by a recognised engineer.


In paragraph (1) “recognised engineer” means an engineer approved under regulation 3 of the Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1998.


Omitted by The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.


The manager must not unreasonably cause the gas or electricity supply that is used by any occupier within the HMO interrupted.

Common parts, fixtures, fittings and appliances


The manager must ensure that all common parts of the HMO are:

  • (a) maintained in good and clean decorative repair;
  • (b) maintained in a safe and working condition;
  • (c) kept reasonably clear of obstruction;


In performing the duty imposed by paragraph (1), the manager must in particular ensure that:

  • (a) all handrails and banisters are at all times kept in good repair;
  • (b) such additional handrails or banisters as are necessary for the safety of the occupants of the HMO are provided;
  • (c) any stair coverings are safely fixed and kept in good repair;
  • (d) all windows and other means of ventilation within the common parts are kept in good repair;
  • (e) the common parts are fitted with adequate light fittings that are available for use at all times by every occupier of the HMO; and
  • (f) subject to paragraph (3) fixtures, fittings, or appliances used in common by two or more households within the HMO are maintained in good and safe repair and in clean working order.


The duty imposed by paragraph (2)(f) does not apply in relation to fixtures, fittings or appliances that the occupier is entitled to remove from the HMO or which are otherwise outside the control of the manager.


The manager must ensure that:

  • (a) Outbuildings, yards and forecourts which are used in common by two or more households within the HMO are maintained in repair, clean condition and good order;
  • (b) any garden belonging to the HMO is kept in a safe and tidy condition; and
  • (c) boundary walls, fences and railings (including and basement area railings), in so far as they belong to the HMO, are kept and maintained in good and safe repair so as not to constitute a danger to occupiers.


If any part of the HMO is not in use the manager shall ensure that such part, including any passage and staircase directly giving access to it, is kept reasonably clean and free from refuse and litter.


In this regulation:

  • (a) “common parts” means
    • (i) the entrance door to the HMO and the entrance doors leading to each unit of living accommodation within the HMO;
    • (ii) all such parts of the HMO as comprise staircases, passageways, corridors, halls, lobbies, entrances, balconies, porches and steps that are used by the occupiers of the units of living accommodation within the HMO to gain access to the entrance doors of their respective unit of living accommodation; and
    • (iii) any other part of an HMO the use of which is shared by two or more households living in the HMO, with the knowledge of the landlord.

Living accommodation


The manager must ensure that each unit of living accommodation and any furniture supplied with it are in clean condition at the beginning of a person’s occupation of it.


The manager shall ensure, in relation to each unit of living accommodation that is occupied, that:

  • (a) the internal structure is maintained in good repair;
  • (b) any fixtures, fittings or appliances within the part are maintained in good repair and in clean working order; and
  • (c) every window and any other means of ventilation are kept in good repair.


The duties imposed under paragraph (2) do not require the manager to carry out any repair the need for which arises in consequence of use by the occupier of his living accommodation otherwise than in a tenant-like manner.


The duties imposed under paragraph (1) and (2)(b) do not apply in relation to furniture, fixtures, fittings or appliances that the occupier is entitled to remove from the HMO or which are otherwise outside the control of the manager.


For the purpose of this regulation a person shall be regarded as using his living accommodation otherwise than in a tenant-like manner where he fails to treat the property in accordance with covenants or conditions contained in his lease or licence or fails to conduct himself as a reasonable tenant or licensee would do.

Waste disposal facilities


The manager must:

  • (a) ensure that sufficient bins or other suitable receptacles are provided that are adequate for the requirements of each household occupying the HMO for the storage of refuse and litter pending their disposal; and
  • (b) make such further arrangements for the disposal of refuse and litter from the HMO as may be necessary, having regard to any service for such disposal provided by the local authority.

Duties of occupiers of HMO's

Every occupier of the HMO must:

  • (a) conduct himself in a way that will not hinder or frustrate the manager in the performance of his duties.
  • (b) allow the manager, for any purpose connected with carrying out of any duty imposed on him by these regulations, at all reasonable times to enter any living accommodation or other place occupied by that person;
  • (c) provide the manager, at his request, with any such information as he may reasonably require for the purpose of carrying out any such duty;
  • (d) take reasonable care to avoid causing damage to anything which the manager is under a duty to supply, maintain or repair under these regulations;
  • (e) store and dispose of litter in accordance with the arrangements made by the manager under regulation 9; and
  • (f) comply with the reasonable instructions of the manager in respect of any means of escape from fire, the prevention of fire and the use of fire equipment.



Nothing in these regulations shall:

  • (a) require or authorise anything be done in connection with the water supply or drainage or the supply of gas or electricity otherwise in accordance with any enactment; or
  • (b) oblige the manager to take, in connection with those matters, any action which is the responsibility of a local authority or any other person, other than such action as may be necessary to bring the matter promptly to the attention of the authority or person concerned.


Any duty imposed by these Regulations to maintain or keep in repair are to construed as requiring a standard of maintenance or repair that is reasonable in all circumstances, taking into account of the age, character, and prospective life of the house and the locality in which it is situated.

What is an HMO?

An HMO is a property:

a) Which is occupied by more than one household and where there is sharing of amenities, or b) Which is occupied by more than one household and it is not just split into self contained flats, or  c) Which is occupied by more than one household and is split into self-contained flats which do not meet the 1991 Building Regulations and where at least ⅓ of the flats are occupied under short tenancies.

And is 'occupied' by persons:

a) as their only or main residence, or b) as a refuge (escaping domestic violence), or c) during term time by students, or d) for some other purpose that is prescribed in regulations from the government.

A household is defined as:

a) a single person, b) a married or unmarried couple, c) a family, or d) any other relationship specified by the government.


The landlord and anybody who collects the rent such as a managing agent is under a legal duty to licence certain HMO’s occupied by 5 or more people with the Council.  Application forms are available from Housing & Health by telephoning 01622 602 740.  Failure to licence is an offence, punishable on conviction by a fine (currently unlimited).

Contact Numbers

Organisation Contact number
Citizens advice 01622 757 882
Gas Safe Register 0800 408 500
Gas Emergency 0800 111 999
Kent Fire & Rescue Service 01622 774 160
Kent Police 01622 677 055
Kent Trading Standards 08457 585 497

Our address

Housing and Health,
Maidstone Borough Council,
Maidstone House,
King Street,
ME15 6JQ