If you’re a HMO landlord in England it’s important to be aware of the UK government’s space standards, even if your property doesn’t require a licence.
Space standards have been put in place to ensure HMO tenants can enjoy sufficient comfortable living space when residing in a shared property. These space standards dictate minimum bedroom sizes as well as ratios for toilets and bathrooms, so to remain compliant with the law, as a HMO landlord in England you need to know those requirements and adhere to them.
What is the Minimum Legal Bedroom Size for a HMO Property in England?
- For a single person, the government’s minimum legal bedroom size in an HMO is 6.51 m2.
- For a couple sharing, the minimum size is larger at 10.22m2.
If a bedroom doesn’t meet these size standards, you could be fined or even be given a prison sentence for as long as 18 months. Although these figures represent the minimum standards for the UK overall, local councils may sometimes set minimum room sizes of their own, so make sure you investigate with your local authority to ensure you’re meeting their requirements.
What are HMO Minimum Bathroom Requirements?
You must provide at least one bathroom for every five HMO tenants. It should contain a hand basin, toilet, and shower or bath. Exceeding these requirements is always a good idea wherever possible since it will help to increase demand for the property. If you have ensuite bathrooms attached to some, but not all, of your bedrooms, subtract those occupiers and bathrooms before you calculate how many communal bathrooms you need.
Is There a Minimum Kitchen Size for HMO Properties?
HMOs must have a kitchen measuring a minimum of 7m2 for 5 or fewer occupants.
If your property has more tenants, the kitchen must be larger:
- 8m2 for 6 – 7 tenants
- 9m2 for 8 – 9 tenants
- 10m2 for ten occupants
The available kitchen space must be larger if your property has no separate living area:
- 5m2 for five or fewer tenants
- 13m2 for six tenants
- 15m2 for seven tenants
- 16m2 for eight tenants
- 18m2 for nine tenants
- 5m2 for ten tenants
There are also requirements in place for kitchen equipment and appliances. For every five tenants in the property, a HMO kitchen requires a minimum of one cooker, one standard-sized fridge, and one sink (although if there are over five tenants, a dishwasher can replace a second sink). Each occupant must have at least one power outlet, 0.2m2 of countertop space and a wall unit of at least 40cm in width.
Do HMOs Need a Separate Living Room?
HMO landlords in England aren’t legally required to provide tenants with a separate living room if the kitchen is big enough to meet the government’s space requirements. However, it’s highly recommended that a living area is provided for tenants in shared accommodation. Local councils will set out their own requirements with regards to living areas, so make sure to carry out enquiries to keep your HMO property compliant. If your HMO has any rooms that aren’t large enough to rent out as bedrooms, you could consider turning those into communal spaces that your tenants can use, for example TV or games rooms, or even small home offices.
To find out more about ensuring that your property is compliant with the government requirements and to take the hard work out of managing your HMO in England, get in touch with the team at The HMO Network 01245 835859 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.