Council multiple flat HMO status for Fire Regs over-reaching?Make Text Bigger
Obviously we are all familiar with Council’s over-reaching, so I am always cynical with their “regulations”. This is a fairly dry post, but one that possibly calls out the exploitation of LHA’s across the country.
I have been approached by Eastbourne council to have a fire risk assessment done on a 3 flat Vic terrace conversion, whereby I own 2 of the flats and am co-freeholder with the other flat owner.
The building has a separate entrance to the basement flat, and the ground and first floor share a common entrance with a maybe 12ft hallway. Therefore by the LACORS guidance, it is in fact considered a 2 storey house per fire regs. (see page 73 of LACORS) Click here
In my phone conversation with the Eastbourne LHA, they insisted it was a 3 storey for fire regs, so automatically this reveals a misapplication of the LACORS legislation (and my concern for exploiting landlords). Further they said it was because it was not owner-occupied, but again, that is not the whole truth for qualifying as an HMO.
The council wants to call our type of building an HMO in reference to the Housing Act 2004, section 257, but my reading of the legislation is different.
Qualifying HMO criteria states, that the building must be less than 2/3 owner occupied (which ours is) AND did/does not comply with the appropriate building standards.
Not complying with “Appropriate building standards” means if it does not comply with the 1991 Building regs, if application was not made before June 1992, and the work was done post 1991. (funny order of dates, I know, but I think that is how it reads)
An exemption is made by Regulation 20
Which I read as any building work previous to the 1991 regs, so long as it is covered by the 1984 regs, does not need to comply with the 1991 regs.
The conversions in this property were done pre 1979, as that is when the original lease was granted.
Therefore, to be acceptable to LACORS, the property must not be an “HMO”, which means it must be good to the 1991 regs (or the 1984 regs if work done prior to 1991), IF it is less than 2/3 owner occupied. Does anyone agree?
Thank you in advance for our comments
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