HMO Question – are basins in bedrooms mandatory?

HMO Question – are basins in bedrooms mandatory?

15:19 PM, 9th November 2013, About 10 years ago 25

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Is it a legal requirement that every bedroom in a licensable HMO has to have a wash hand basin?

I have been jumping through hoops for a year to try and get a licence on a three storey 6-bed HMO. I had a letter from the council in 2011 saying that as I had three bathrooms and two separate WCs, all with wash hand basins, I didn’t have to put basins in the bedrooms, but would have to when I re-licensed in five years time. HMO - Bedrooms with basins mandatory?

I have now been given a draft of a licence to check which requires me to put basins in within two months.




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Jamie M

15:34 PM, 9th November 2013, About 10 years ago

No its not, NO basins required in bed rooms. read the LA HMO requirements for kitchens and bathrooms per number of people requirements plus fire regs, its no onerous.

Paul Maguire

15:37 PM, 9th November 2013, About 10 years ago

I've got a 5 double bedroom licenced for 10 people in Edinburgh . 3 bath/shower of which one's ensuite and I've never heard of this new requirement. Some new regulations only apply to new HMO applications however so it might be worth double checking.

Pete Judd

22:32 PM, 9th November 2013, About 10 years ago

When the HMO licensing scheme first started there was a requirement to have sinks in all bedrooms. This was however left relaxed as a requirement to be fulfilled before the next licence renewal or the majority of HMOs would have been refuse a licence and caused terrific problems. This requirement was however shelved during the course of the next 12 months as unworkable. I have been putting sinks in where possible when rooms become empty as a matter of improving the facilities but have only done about 3/4 so far and when my properties came up for licence renewal there has been no problems and no mention in the works to be completed sections. I know that different authorities have slightly different sets of standards that they are working with from the research that I have done on the internet but none of the authorities in the south west that I deal with require sinks so I am pretty sure that it may be a desirable but not a legal requirement.

Industry Observer

9:58 AM, 11th November 2013, About 10 years ago

Pete is right on the money here.

About 6 years ago this basin stuff was all the rage and Leeds led the way among several LAs who were very hot on this.

But it faded away and I thought was completely dead.

As ever ask the EHO to quote specific chapter and verse in Statute/Regs where they claim it makes it (or anything) obligatory.

Mark Crampton Smith

10:38 AM, 11th November 2013, About 10 years ago

When statutory licensing was first introduced in Oxford, there happened to be a long dry summer......... Thames Water had a hosepipe ban, and we calculated that should the requirement fror sinks be enforced, an additional 6400 taps (min) would need to be fitted into houses in Oxford. I had a series of email and telephone exchanges with Teresa Donahugh in the Deputy PM's dept (who issued the original guidance notes).
When they realised exactly how adverse the publicity might be, Teresa explained to the lead officer in Environmental Health in Oxford exactly how to fudge the issue.........Oxford could require the basins be fitted within a timeframe that exceded the term of the license, and when it came up for renewal, they could do the same. Now, in Oxford, there is no mention of basins when licenses are being issued or renewed.

John Daley

11:22 AM, 11th November 2013, About 10 years ago

It is not currently a requirement in the HMO standards but LA's can put in additional licensing conditions if they wish. I doubt that this would be a sensible one for the property you describe.

Industry Observer

8:28 AM, 12th November 2013, About 10 years ago

Well done Mark C-S I knew in the back of my mind that there was something like this. You are absolutely right the requirement was a disater and was quietly kicked into the long grass with the strategy you describe.

Oxfortd EHO/TSO are notorious for prosecuting for anything that moves so if Oxford is happy.................

Richard Lord

10:50 AM, 13th November 2013, About 10 years ago

It appears that LA standards are a bit behind the legislation requiring wash hand basins in every room.

Originally this was a requirement under the Licensing and management of HMO regs 2006 statutory intrument number 373 Schedule 3. This set of regulations was then replaced by the Licensing and management ( additional provisions) regs in 2007. SI 2007:1903

In effect the requirement has been replaced by the reg that states "where resonable practcable there must be a wash hand basin" . have a look at the regulation which is in reg 12 as it ammends the original regulations.

If the LA are determined to require you to install WHB in each room and it appears on the licence you may need to consider an appeal to the RPT as the condition may not be correct. It may come down to whether the installation of basins is resonably practicable or not.

If you need some further assistance contact me.

Industry Observer

15:22 PM, 13th November 2013, About 10 years ago


I'm no expert but don't the 2006 Regs apply to HMOs other than s257 type 5 ones, and the 2007 Regs ONLY apply to s257 HMOs

I thought that was why there were two different versions, the original 2006 ones didn't apply to s257's, nothing to do with basins which just happen to be in the 2007 version

Richard Lord

16:15 PM, 13th November 2013, About 10 years ago

Dear Industry Observer.

Like all regs the devil is in the detail. You are correct that regulations 1-11 apply to S 257 flats only . You are also correct that the 2006 regs do not apply to s S257's.

Careful reading of the 2007 regs shows that Reg 12 applies to any HMO that requires a licence. This set of regs have amended the prescribed standards for all licensed HMO's - including wash hand basins by adding the words reasonable practicable.

Ultimately the RPT is the main adjudicator in these disputes and i imagine will also also decide what reasonable practicable means.

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