A House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) is a type of property that is rented out by a landlord to multiple tenants who share common areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms. In this article, we will focus on the minimum room sizes for HMOs including sizes for bedrooms, kitchens and living room size requirements. Such details are particularly crucial for those contemplating their first HMO conversion.
Minimum Bedroom Size for HMOs
The minimum bedroom size in an HMO is specified by ‘The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018’ and the ‘Minimum Amenities Standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation 2020’, states that a bedroom used by one person over the age of 10 must have a floor area of at least 6.51 square metres. If two people over the age of 10 are sharing the room, the minimum size increases to 10.22 square metres.
However, local authorities may have their own set of requirements for the minimum size of bedrooms in an HMO, which could be more stringent than the regulations outlined in the Housing Act 2004. These local authorities have the authority to suggest a minimum size for bedrooms based on the specific needs and circumstances of their area.
For example, in Greenwich, the minimum size for a bedroom in an HMO, where the kitchen is in a separate room, is 9 square metres. Meanwhile, in Southwark and Lambeth, the minimum size for a bedroom in an HMO with a separate kitchen is 10 square metres. It is important to note that these sizes may vary depending on the local authority and it is always recommended to check with the local authority in question to confirm their specific requirements.
Minimum Kitchen Size for HMOs
When it comes to determining the minimum kitchen size for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), there are guidelines outlined in the Minimum Amenities Standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation 2020. These standards stipulate that the kitchen must measure 7 square metres per every 5 residents.
It is also important to point out that different local authorities have their own requirements, which can serve as a guide for HMO landlords and tenants.
For example, Southwark Council has a minimum kitchen size requirement based on the number of residents in the HMO. For 4 people, the kitchen must be at least 8.5 square metres. For each additional person, the kitchen size must increase by 1 square metre, with a minimum of 9.5 square metres required for 5 residents and 10.5 square metres for 6 residents.
Similarly, Greenwich Council sets minimum kitchen size requirements based on the number of residents in the HMO. If there are 5 residents, the kitchen must be at least 9.5 square metres. This minimum size increases to 10.5 square metres for 6 residents, 11.5 square metres for 7 residents, and 14.5 square metres for 8 to 10 residents.
Meanwhile, Merton Council requires that the minimum kitchen size in an HMO be 2 square metres per person or more. Therefore, if you have 5 residents in your HMO, the kitchen must be at least 10 square metres in size.
In conclusion, while there is no set standard for minimum kitchen size requirements for HMOs, it is important for landlords to be aware of the requirements set forth by their local authorities. As a general rule of thumb, a kitchen in an HMO should be no smaller than 1.4 square metres per person.
Minimum Living Room Size for HMOs
The Minimum Amenities Standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation 2020 sets out the minimum standards for living room sizes in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). According to these standards, for every 5 residents, the living room must be at least 11 square metres. If there are 7 occupants, the living room must be larger than 18 square metres.
However, local authorities may have their own specific requirements for HMO living rooms. These regulations can serve as a guide for landlords and tenants when determining the appropriate size for the living room.
Southwark Council has its own regulations for the minimum size of the living room in an HMO. For a living room accommodating 4 to 6 people, the minimum size should be 11 square metres. An additional 1 square metre should be added to the living room for each additional person. For instance, if there are 7 people, the living room should be 12 square metres.
In Redbridge Council, the communal living room must be at least 13 square metres for 3 people, and 1 square metre for every additional person. For example, a living room for 5 people should be 15 square metres.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council also sets minimum requirements for living rooms in HMOs based on the number of residents. For 3 to 4 residents, the living room must be at least 8.5 square metres. For 5 to 9 residents, the minimum size increases to 11 square metres.
In conclusion, the size of a living room in a HMO should take into consideration the number of residents. A general rule of thumb to follow would be that a living room in an HMO should be no smaller than 2 square metres per person.
Minimum Kitchen Diner Size for HMOs
When it comes to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) with bedrooms measuring 6.51 square metres and where there is no living room, it is essential to ensure that the kitchen diner meets the minimum size requirements.
The Minimum Amenities Standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation 2020 outlines the minimum size for a kitchen diner in an HMO. According to the standards, for a kitchen diner in a 5 bed HMO where there is no living room and bedrooms are 6.51 square metres, the minimum size should be 11 square metres, which equates to 2.2 square metres per person. This means that for 6 people, the kitchen diner must be at least 13.2 square metres.
However, local authorities may have different requirements, and it is always recommended to check with your local council. For example, we have seen council requirements that state a minimum kitchen diner size of 12 square metres per 5 people and 16.5 square metres per 5 people.
It is crucial to check with your local council for specific requirements and to remember that the above information are just general guidelines.
Taking the Local Authority to Tribunal
If you receive notification from your local authority stating for example that you are not adhering to minimum room sizes in your HMO, resulting in restrictions on renting out all available bedrooms, or your local authority requires you to extend your kitchen as, according to them, it is too small, you may choose to pursue an appeal through the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). This is an independent body that handles appeals in relation to various property and housing-related issues.
The process for appealing to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) is straightforward and usually involves the following steps:
- File a Notice of Appeal: To start the appeals process, you must file a Notice of Appeal with the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). The notice must be filed within 28 days of receiving the local authority decision that you disagree with.
- Prepare your case: Once the notice of appeal has been filed, you must prepare your case. This involves collecting evidence, preparing statements, and preparing any other documents that will support your appeal.
- Attend the hearing: The next step is to attend a hearing before the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). During the hearing, you will present your case and respond to any questions posed by the tribunal members. The local authority will also present their case, and the tribunal will make a final decision based on the evidence presented.
- Wait for the decision: Once the hearing has concluded, the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) will consider the evidence and make a final decision. The decision will be sent to you in writing, and it will set out the outcome of the appeal and any next steps.
It is important to note that the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) has the power to overrule a local authority decision, but it can also uphold the original decision. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal, you may be able to seek further legal remedy, but it is recommended to seek legal advice before doing so.
From our experience, in instances where a local authority’s decision regarding the size of rooms in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) is disputed, they tend to reconsider their stance as long as the property in question adheres to the Minimum Amenities Standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation 2020. This often occurs before the formal appeal process at the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) commences.
The minimum room sizes for HMOs are regulated by the ‘Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018’ and the ‘Minimum Amenities Standards for Houses in Multiple Occupation 2020’. However, local authorities may have their own requirements, which can be more stringent. It is important for HMO landlords and tenants to be aware of the minimum bedroom, kitchen, kitchen diner and living room size requirements set by their local authority. That being said if you disagree with a decision, and you feel you have good grounds to do so you can appeal.
Get in touch with us if you require specialised HMO consultation, need to take your local council to the First-tier Tribunal, or if you need a HMO letting agent for your South London property.