Reporting HMOs

Royal Holloway’s failure to provide enough accommodation for the 15,000 students that it expects to attract has led to the huge growth in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) seen in both Englefield Green and Egham.

Common complaints that we hear about these HMOs relate to the condition of the property and usually concern the unkempt appearance of the property – particularly gardens – or issues with rubbish and bins on the property.

A registered HMO occupied by Royal Holloway students

The managers of all HMOs must comply with The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and the managers of licenced HMOs must comply with the HMO licence conditions set out in the Housing Act 2004 as well.  In Runnymede, only HMOs with 5 or more occupants must be licenced although properties with 3 or 4 occupants may meet the definition of an HMO and are thus subject to the management regulations even though they are not licensed.

Generally, HMO licence conditions relate to health and safety aspects of the building and include conditions concerning, for example, minimum floor areas in rooms, provision of smoke & carbon monoxide alarms, gas safety certificates and the safety of electrical installations.   The management regulations on the other hand, include obligations regarding the on-going maintenance of the property and these include maintaining and repairing such things as stairs, windows, fences, forecourts and gardens.  The management regulations also include an obligation for the manager of the HMO to provide sufficient bins and to make arrangements for the disposal of refuse and litter.   The regulations also include a specific requirement for the manager to ensure that ‘any garden belonging to the HMO is kept in a safe and tidy condition’.

Runnymede Borough Council provides a guide for landlords to both the licence conditions and management regulations and a copy of this is available on the RBC website.

Of course, some breaches of the management regulations – such as a failure to provide adequate conditions for the storage of waste – can result in health and safety concerns too, and this is often seen when wheelie bins are so full that the lids can’t be closed and bags of rubbish left on the ground could present a trip hazard or attract vermin.  So, if you have any concern about the condition or management of an HMO, then you should report it to the Private Sector Housing department at Runnymede Borough Council using the sample template that we have provided for your e-mail.

As you may have read in our recent news article, the Planning Policy Team at Runnymede Borough Council is currently looking to gather evidence of the effects of these HMOs on the local community so reporting all the issues that you become aware of will help to inform this work as well as potentially address the immediate issue.

If you want to check that the property concerned is a licenced HMO, then you can check the RBC register published online.