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Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Some HMOs will need to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, (often referred to as the RRO or Fire Safety Order). These will typically be houses let as bedsits, hostels and blocks of flats.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into force on 1 October 2006. This legislation requires a competent and responsible person, who has a degree of control over the building, to carry out a satisfactory fire risk assessment, and implement and maintain adequate standards of fire safety in the building.

The council inspects properties that it identifies as being a potential House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). If conditions in the properties inspected are not up to standard, the landlord or owner is required to improve them.

Fire safety inspections in an HMO

HMOs pose a greater risk to the health and safety of people living in them. Very often, people who live in HMOs do not know who else lives in the same building with them, and the risks of fire and infection are therefore increased. HMO fire safety is therefore an important part of our inspection and consideration will be given to Lacors fire safety guidance, which states:

  • All HMOs of three storeys or more should have a panel controlled automatic fire alarm and detection system covering all parts of the premises, that is rooms, halls and stairs, kitchens etc.
  • All HMOs of two storeys should have a simpler system, but it should cover the same areas, all rooms, halls and stairs and kitchens. These systems do not have panel control but all the units are linked together so everyone is protected.
  • All self contained flats whether in a converted building or purpose built should have a fire alarm and detection system that covers each individual flat and may also be provided in the stairs and hallways.
  • All rented houses should have at least one smoke alarm positioned on each landing level of the stairs, so a two-storey house would have two alarms.
  • Most houses that are converted into self-contained flats will also require emergency lighting.
  • All fire alarm and detection systems require testing and maintenance.