1991 Building Regulations – I don’t want an HMO?

1991 Building Regulations – I don’t want an HMO?

8:38 AM, 23rd July 2018, About 4 years ago 10

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I have a property that I inherited from my late husband that has been divided into 8 self contained flats.

Although they don’t have any shared facilities (in the normal HMO way) the current legislation says that buildings converted into self contained flats ARE HMOs UNLESS they comply with 1991 Building Regulations or if they don’t, that they’re now brought up to those regulations.

My challenge is that I don’t want them to be HMOs because of my mortgage terms and also the licence fees for each one etc. However even after phoning over 20 surveyors and private building control people, I am struggling to find anyone who can help me to establish if they comply to the 1991 Building Regulations or not etc. I don’t want to involve the council at the moment until I’ve got my facts right.

Can anyone suggest any one who could help? I need a surveyor or Building control expert who can come and tell me what is or isn’t compliant, how to put it right and then I can apply for Regularisation.

Many thanks


Editor’s Note:

Click Here to see The Buildings Regulations 1991



11:17 AM, 23rd July 2018, About 4 years ago

Are all 8 flats subject to council tax individually ?
If so, since when ?
Can you prove it ?

Rob Crawford

14:21 PM, 23rd July 2018, About 4 years ago

The definition of whether an individual flats is an HMO is fairly clear. However, whether a bloke of flats is to be considered an HMO requires a little more patience in reading and interpreting the legislation. An easier option would be to engage with your LA Private Rented Sector manager and ask for them to fudge it's eligibility (sorry judge not fudge).


14:35 PM, 23rd July 2018, About 4 years ago

It wud b pretty difficult to enforce HMO is u can prove ‘established use’ altho u may still b non compliant.

david Brinsden

15:54 PM, 23rd July 2018, About 4 years ago

I manage a block of 6 flats originally built by my father & sold on 99 year leases in 1976. I hear that even though they have their own front doors, because they all come off a common stairwell, and 3 storeys, & were all owner occupiers once, they are now popular as BTL. If I have more than 3 let out then this potentially makes it an HMO


20:11 PM, 23rd July 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by david Brinsden at 23/07/2018 - 15:54
Don't know if front doors and stairwell come into play in determining HMO status. Building Regs yes.

Does each and every one of the 6 flats pay its own council tax ?

david Brinsden

9:20 AM, 24th July 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by sam at 23/07/2018 - 20:11
They each pay their own council tax. Even though they complied with building regs in 76 & have a fire alarm & lighting system I worry that more work will need to be done if they are deemed to be in an HMO


10:55 AM, 24th July 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by david Brinsden at 24/07/2018 - 09:20
HMO is a single unit of residence with 3 or more unrelated tenants.
I m no expert but if each of your 6 units hv bn paying council tax individually that means they r 6 different individual units. Unless u hv 3 or more people staying in each, I can’t see how they can force HMO on u. Hv u spoken to a Planning consultant ?
Having to do more work to b compliant is a different issue. U need to confirm what classification your units r in order to determine what u hv to do to b compliant.

Wyn Burgess

8:12 AM, 28th July 2018, About 4 years ago

Sharron, you have to assume the flats do not meet the 1991 BR. Reason is that these regs brought in the requirement for acoustic separation for conversions for the first time ie not required in conversions previously. To comply as a minimum you would need to install something like Reduc 17 (a hardboard/resilient layer sandwich) across all the separating floors plus additional layer(s) of plasterboard and insulation underneath.
A further issue is if that whoever is checking the work from the council may require additional work not in the 1991 Act such as acoustic testing on site and might insist you need to meet more recent acoustic standards in subsequent BR Approved Documents. You can try arguing (as I have done) that this is above & beyond but unless you have recourse to a legal team you will have to do whatever is asked to get the approval.


10:25 AM, 28th July 2018, About 4 years ago


I own properties described in this article. Indeed they are HMO's for the purposes of the HMO Management Regulations and the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. So that imposes obligations upon you.

However they are not licensable HMO'S if each unit is self contained. Self contained tends to mean all the facilities of each flat are situated within one unit. The exception that makes them non licensable is I believe contained in S257 Housing Act 2004.

I have also read that the changes coming in Oct 2018 to make licences more common do not apply to 257 buildings. But I am still investigating this point as I am uncertain.


18:19 PM, 28th July 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Wyn Burgess at 28/07/2018 - 08:12
Is the 1991 BR for accoustic separation retrospective ? Under what circumstances wud it b applicable to older conversion ?

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