Mandatory HMO Licence requirements?

Mandatory HMO Licence requirements?

0:01 AM, 19th March 2024, About 3 months ago 8

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Hi, I have a 3-bedroom house in Newham I am thinking of converting the through lounge to two bedrooms thus making it five bedrooms suitable for five individuals. The kitchen and bathroom will be shared. This will be just the ground floor and first floor. Does anyone know the exact requirements? Maybe someone who has done this already can advise.

At the moment it has wired, battery-backed up interconnected smoke alarms on the first-floor landing, downstairs hallway and smoke and heat alarm in the kitchen.

My questions are:

1. Does every bedroom need a smoke alarm?
2. Does it need a fire panel?
3. Does it need emergency lights & where?
4. Does every single door need to be fire-rated & fire strip installed including bathrooms?

Anything else I need to take care of? Any advice is highly appreciated.



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Bristol Landlord

0:43 AM, 19th March 2024, About 3 months ago

You need to contact your local authority to check minimum room sizes for bedrooms and communal areas.
You also need to check if you need planning permission for a 5 bed and you may also be in an Article 4 area.
For a 5 bed you may well need 18 to 20SM of communal space in your kitchen as you will be losing your living room. Is your kitchen big enough? May also need 2 fridges and an extra WC or full bathroom.
I think you’re going to find 5 occupants will be difficult, you may be better with dividing your through lounge with a wall and making the spaces into a smaller living room and a fourth bedroom and settling for 4 tenants instead of 5.
Good luck.

Mark C

10:25 AM, 19th March 2024, About 3 months ago

I agree with Bristol Landlord. You need to research very carefully and follow the regulations to the letter or risk a chunky fine.
There is usually guidance on the local authorities website on minimum standards which can be quite detailed including the things that BL mentions. It will even cover things like the amount of counter top space required in the kitchen.
The answer to your questions also depends on what you go for, however, it's worth considering that regulations change, so you may not need a fire panel for 4 beds today but that could change in the future...

Yvonne Francis

10:31 AM, 19th March 2024, About 3 months ago

Hi Mat, You need to see what the Environment Health department of your Council requires. If you are planning to become a HMO most Councils require houses to be licensed, and have planning if they have as little as three unrelated tenants, and certainly for five. They will dictate everything from licensing, planning, fire alarms, room sizes, how many utilities to dust bins. No one on here can advise you as Councils differ. Go online and ring them. Welcome to being a landlord!


13:12 PM, 19th March 2024, About 3 months ago

Hate to pour cold water on your plan but we deal a lot with Newham and they are very much against any new HMO rentals. Even a couple and an unrelated friend makes the property an HMO requring planning permission and sadly, from experience, that permission, if applied for, will NOT be granted. In fact, unless you can prove at least 10 years of continuous previous use as an HMO, Article 4 applies and there's no way round it


14:17 PM, 19th March 2024, About 3 months ago

3 unrelated tenants is a small HMO while 5 unrelated tenants is a large HMO.
You may need two bathrooms with shower, toilet and basin in each when you go to 5 tenants.
Maybe 2 forms of washing ie sink and dishwasher.
2 ovens ! So normal oven and hob ( electric ) and Combi microwave.
Living room size and kitchen size.
Lots to find out


0:42 AM, 20th March 2024, About 3 months ago

I have exact same size HMO and in Newham, licensed for up to 7 occupants, or 5 households, I have 5 rooms each room is allowed maximum of 2 persons of any age, that means no couple with a child, In theory if I am allowed 2 persons in each room I could potentially house 10 occupants but due to restricted Kitchen size they licenced me for 7 occupants, You do not need two cookers, or two fridges, and only 1 washing machine, However I do have two bathrooms with wc and shower in both, but one upstairs is no longer in use so with that I am restricted to 5 occupants.
as for Fire safety, I was advised to install wired detectors in each room, all linked and battery backed, no need for a Fire Alarm panel as it is not a 3 story HMO, recently had an inspection and it passed with flying colours, I only rent 4 rooms out of the 5 as I occupy one for myself, suits me because I can go and come as and when I want.
For fire doors I installed 30min fire doors for each of the bedrooms, and one in Kitchen. There is no other requirement except for two fire Extinguishers one by the lower staircase and one near the kitchen and a fire blanket, and two Green signs to show Fire Escape, no need for emergency lighting as it is a small HMO two story, I bought this property back in 2001 as an HMO so I did not need planning as planning was already granted then.
When you apply for an HMO licence, the licensing section will state that it is your responsibility to ensure it has planning permission, they will not check if you have one or not, but will give you a licence if you meet other criteria i,e, fit as a landlord, no criminal records, etc, no breach of housing act, etc, planning enforcement is seperate issue and yes they can check but licensing department is seperate. Currently I have just 4 tenants and I m happy with that as I want to keep a full control over my property, visit it whenever I want as I occupy one room for myself.

Make sure when you create two rooms from a through Lounge, use sound insulation in the new wall.
However, I am making less money from it than if I had rented the whole house as a family home, I could potentially get £2K plus rent but as is I am only getting £1600 pcm plus I have to pay all the bills out from my pocket that amounts to about £5K, . .

Michael Booth

10:11 AM, 20th March 2024, About 3 months ago

Yes to the lot

Martin R

7:24 AM, 21st March 2024, About 3 months ago

Im sure you'll require mains interlinked smoke alarms in every bedroom as well as escape routes, kitchen heat alarm &/or communial room,these alarms must have a 'built in' usually lithium rechargeable battery back up.
Unless you have a three storey building you shouldn't need fire panel or emergency lights.
Yes to fire doors.
Electric consumer unit should be in a communal area, ie. not a bedroom.
Another thing with electrical, it's a new regs requirement (bs7671:2022) to have all socket outlets in an HMO protected by an AFDD 'arc fault detection device' - this regs change is not retrospective but if you want just one extra socket expect an electricians quote to include fitting this device .

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