HMO, Building Regs and other considerations moving a kitchen upstairs

by Readers Question

11:08 AM, 9th December 2014
About 4 years ago

HMO, Building Regs and other considerations moving a kitchen upstairs

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HMO, Building Regs and other considerations moving a kitchen upstairs

First off I want to thank you for being such a great resource. I have been lurking on here for a long time to help set up my business!

I specialise in converting 3 bedroom houses, into 6 studio, HMO rooms. Each room has their own en-suite and kitchenette (microwave and fridge) – the finishing and furnishings are exceptional and will appeal to the high end young professional market.

In houses I have converted previously, the houses have been large enough across for me not to require an attic conversions to get 6 units. So the Layout has been roughly that of a usual house, i.e. kitchen downstairs.

I am considering taking on a 3 bed property that needs needs an attic conversion (and thus will require mandatory HMO licencing and all the additional building control requirements that go along with it).

I would like to move a kitchen into a room, that is too small to use as a bedroom, and convert the large kitchen on the ground floor into a large studio. Typically tenants don’t really use the shared kitchen often, and only really use it for the washing machine and drying facilities.

My questions are – can I move the kitchen upstairs? If so, what building regs do I have to think about? Are there minimum space standards I have to think about for a smaller kitchen? All tenants will have enough storage in their own rooms for food, plates and cutlery – can I just put a hob, oven and washing machine?

Thanks,
Neilkitchen



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:26 AM, 9th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Neil,

I found these standards for an HMO kitchen by the housing executive:

6.0
Facilities for Storage, Preparation and Cooking of Food and for the Disposal of Waste Water
6.1
In assessing the suitability of the kitchen facilities, the Housing Executive will take into account the manner in which the premises are occupied.
6.2
Where meals are provided for residents the kitchen facilities may have to comply with the Food Safety (N.I) Order 1991 or any re-enactment or statutory modification. Decisions regarding the need for compliance can only be made by the local Council
Environmental Health Department.
6.3
Depending on any restrictions of kitchen usage by residents (under 6.2), as confirmed by the Environmental Health Depart­ment, separate kitchen facilities for residents may be required.
6.4
Where separate kitchen facilities are necessary each kitchen shall contain the following:­
6.4.1
Cooker with four rings or hot plates, oven and grill
6.4.2
A sink complying with paragraph 6.13
6.4.3
A securely fixed worktop 1200mm x 600mm minimum
6.4.4
2 no. double socket outlets in addition to any socket or point used for an electric cooker or oven. Sockets should be positioned immediately adjacent to the work surface, and installed in compliance with the current edition of the Regulations for
Electrical Installations of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.
6.5
Kitchen facilities for the purpose of paragraph 6.4, shall be available for use 24 hours a day. Each individual or household shall have a kitchen for their individual use or shared with one or more other individuals or households.
6.6
Shared kitchens, where practicable, shall be provided on the same floor as the habitable rooms.
6.7
Where it is not practicable to have the kitchen(s) on the same floor as the habitable rooms, a suitable dining area should be provided adjacent to each kitchen.
6.8
All facilities and appliances should be designed and installed so as not to be prejudicial to safety. Sinks, worktops and immedi­ately adjacent walls and floors should be non-porous and reasonably smooth so as to facilitate cleaning.

SPACE STANDARD
6.9.1
Kitchen
1-2 individuals 5m sq
3-5 individuals 7m sq
6-10 individuals 10m sq

1 household 5m sq
2-3 households 7m sq
4-6 households 10m sq

Kitchen/Dining Room
1-2 individuals 9m sq
3-5 individuals 11.5m sq
6-10 individuals 19.5m sq

Food Storage
6.10.1
Each individual shall be provided with a proper food store, 0.18m cubed dry storage and 0.06m cold storage, within the unit of accom­
modation. Households comprising of more than one individual will require more of each type of storage space.

The link is here >> http://www.nihe.gov.uk/hmo_standards.pdf

matchmade

14:39 PM, 9th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Thanks to Neil P for digging out this information. Neil will clearly have to provide a large kitchen for six tenants, not this tiny upstairs one. These needs to be storage in the kitchen for each tenant - for plates, pots and pans, and food - as it will be judged to be impractical and unhygienic to expect tenants to store all this stuff in their rooms. The water supply, sink and worktop space are sensible too, for food preparation. Tenants cannot be expected only to use a microwave to heat up pre-prepared food.

An upstairs kitchen does not sound good news from a Building Regulations point of view. Significant smoke and fireproof work will be needed to provide an escape route around the staircase to the new room in the attic. Even a downstairs kitchen requires a wired-in fire alarm system and a 30-minute self-closing firedoor between it and the main escape route (probably a hallway), so just imagine what protective building fabric will be demanded by the EHO and building control officers with an upstairs kitchen, to ensure there is a safe escape route for all the other tenants.

Neil Hammer

15:06 PM, 9th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Thanks for your help all!

@Neil P I think these regs are for NI. In England and Wales (after many conversations and much research) I have concluded the HMO licence regs are specific to the borough.

@Tony - thanks for the info. Looks like I will have really go crazy with the fireproofing.

Thanks,
Neil

Dr Rosalind Beck

21:13 PM, 9th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Does anyone know if there are any requirements in an HMO for a lounge? Or is it just kitchen and bathrooms that they really have any powers over? I'm assuming there aren't any requirements as I know many London rental houses no longer have communal lounges.

Neil Hammer

23:21 PM, 9th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rosalind " at "09/12/2014 - 21:13":

Hi Rosalind,

If there is no lounge, individual room sizes have to be little bigger. I think it is at least 6.5m2 for houses with a lounge, and 10.5m2 for houses without a lounge- these are the sizes for single occupancy.

Ask your some one on the HMO team in your local authority. Also be wary of additional licencing requirements in part of London.

Cheers,
Neil

Dr Rosalind Beck

8:54 AM, 10th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Thanks Neil.
I think we've got a double whammy then, as I'd say all our rooms are the bigger size and we also always have a lounge or in one house we've got a large kitchen-diner. I was wondering about any size requirements on the lounges as well, as we're currently converting a very large lounge into a double bedroom, plus smaller lounge. I find it depends on the tenants whether they actually use this space or not. And we can do what we want at the moment, but we're going to have to license an additional 6 houses in the New Year - paying £600 or £700 per house (I forget the amount) for the privilege and then have to do whatever thousands of pounds worth of work they decide are the current requirements - which later will change, as usual, and we'll have wasted a whole stack of money. The whole thing is farcical.
I'm getting more and more annoyed at the way councils and MPs are unilaterally deciding to make us do things which are often completely unnecessary, expensive and illogical. And later, when they say, 'Oh, it's okay, you don't need those door closers now' or 'you don't need those intumescent strips now' or 'actually you didn't need to put that fire alarm in' etc., we can't say, 'Well in that case, you made me fit them and pay hundreds/thousands of pounds unnecessarily and on a whim, so you can now refund me that money.' I'd love it, if this could be the next 'PPI.' Surely some lawyers could take a look at it?
I'm in Wales by the way and thanks again.

Neil Hammer

9:11 AM, 10th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rosalind " at "10/12/2014 - 08:54":

I am complete with you Ros.

Council seem to think HMOs are a licence to print money. They don't get that our mortgage rates are higher, our bills are higher, our wear and tear is higher, our management costs are more, the renovation/compliance costs are higher and building insurance is higher.

After all these additional expenses, we have the VOA re-banding rooms as flats, charging tenants the same council tax as self contained accommodation.

On top they seem to be providing a moving target to keep the properties up to date.

The worst thing about these policies, is that they only penalise landlords who are legitimate - those that are keen to keep within the lines and provide excellent accommodation. The landlords that don't care, rarely get caught. The govts punitive policies towards HMOs encourage landlords to become dodgy.

Anyway rant over 🙂 just gotta get on with it, I guess lol!


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