This is the original version (as it was originally made). This item of legislation is currently only available in its original format.
This is the original version (as it was originally made). This item of legislation is currently only available in its original format.
Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland
Houses In Multiple Occupation
7th March 2019
Coming into operation
1st April 2019
1. These Regulations may be cited as the Houses in Multiple Occupation (Living Accommodation Standard) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019 and shall come into operation on 1st April 2019.
2. These Regulations set out the minimum standards which must be met in order for accommodation to be regarded as suitable for occupation by a prescribed number of persons.
3.-(1) All habitable rooms shall have adequate natural lighting to enable domestic activities to be undertaken safely. A clear glazed window equivalent in size to 1/10th of the room floor area shall be adequate to meet this standard.
(2) Where practical all kitchens, bathrooms and water closet compartments shall be provided with natural light via an area of clear glazing in the kitchen and obscure glazing in the bathrooms and water closet compartments, situated in either a window and/or door equivalent in total area to at least 1/10th of the floor area of the room.
4.-(1) Adequate electric lighting must be provided to all accessible parts of the building.
(2) Time switches shall not be permitted in kitchens and bathrooms.
(3) Light switches shall be suitably positioned so that they can be operated directly upon entering a room, hallway or landing with two way switches to enable operation at both top and bottom of a staircase.
5.-(1) All habitable rooms shall be ventilated directly to the external air by an opening window.
(2) Kitchens, bathrooms and water closets shall be ventilated directly to the external air:-
(a)by a window, capable of being opened, the area of which shall be equivalent to at least 1/20th of the floor area of the room; or
(b)by mechanical ventilation providing a minimum of three air changes per hour; such installations shall be fitted with an overrun device for a minimum of 20 minutes and be connected to the lighting circuit of the room.
(3) A door capable of being opened giving access directly to the external air, or a louvered opening in such a door shall not be acceptable for the purposes of meeting the requirements mentioned in paragraph (2).
(4) All rooms containing an open flue gas heating appliance must be provided with suitable and sufficient permanent ventilation.
6.-(1) All units of accommodation must be equipped with adequate means of space heating which is capable of maintaining a temperature of 21 degrees Celsius when the outside temperature is -1 degrees Celsius. Electrical heating appliances must have a dedicated electrical socket.
(2) The heating must be available at all times and must be under the control of the occupant. The method of heating must be safe and efficient.
(3) The landlord must ensure that the water supply and drainage system serving the HMO is maintained in good, clean and working condition and in particular they must ensure that:-
(a)any tank, cistern or similar receptacle used for the storage of water for drinking or other domestic purposes is kept in a good, clean and working condition, with a cover kept over it to keep the water in a clean and proper condition; and
(b)any water fitting which is liable to damage by frost is protected from frost damage.
(4) The landlord must not unreasonably cause or permit the water or drainage supply that is used by any occupier at the HMO to be interrupted.
(5) In this regulation "water fitting" means a pipe, tap, cock, valve, ferrule, meter, cistern, bath, water closet or soil pan used in connection with the supply or use of water other than an overflow pipe or the mains supply pipe.
(6) The landlord must supply to the council within 7 days of receiving a request in writing from that council the latest gas appliance test certificate he has received in relation to the testing of any gas appliance at the HMO by a Gas Safe registered contractor.
(7) The landlord must:-
(a)ensure that every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at intervals not exceeding five years by a person qualified to undertake such inspection and testing;
(b)obtain a certificate from the person conducting that test, specifying the results of the test; and
(c)supply that certificate to the council within 7 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that council.
(8) The landlord must not unreasonably cause the gas or electricity supply that is used by any occupier within the HMO to be interrupted.
7.-(1) Where a dwelling is not capable of occupation by more than 3 persons, as determined under section 41 of the Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016, the provision of a suitably located bath or shower, water closet and wash hand basin (separated or not), with continuous supplies of hot and cold running water, shall be adequate to meet these standards.
(2) Where an en-suite bathroom or en-suite shower room, or a bathroom or shower room for the sole use of an occupant or household, containing a suitable bath or shower, wash hand basin and water closet, is available, this shall be adequate.
(3) Where the bathroom or shower room is shared, each occupant or household sharing shall have a readily accessible bathroom or a shower room provided in the following ratios as per Table 1:-
|5 occupants||1 bathroom or shower room|
|6-10 occupants||2 bathrooms or shower rooms|
|11-15 occupants||3 bathrooms or shower rooms|
(4) Where a bathroom or shower room is shared, it shall contain a wash hand basin within the compartment. However if due to the physical constraints of the bathroom or shower room a wash hand basin cannot be accommodated within the space, an additional wash hand basin shall be provided within each bedroom.
(5) Where paragraph (4) does not apply and the bathroom or shower room is shared, each occupant shall have an accessible water closet compartment, separate from the bathroom or shower room, and containing a water closet and a wash hand basin in the following ratios as per Table 2:-
|1-5 occupants||1 water closet|
|6-10 occupants||2 water closets|
|11-15 occupants||3 water closets|
(6) Where 2 water closets are required (6-10 occupants sharing), 1 water closet may be in a room also containing a bath or shower and a wash hand basin. Where 3 water closets are required (11-15 occupants sharing), 1 water closet may be in a room also containing a bath or shower and a wash hand basin.
(7) External water closets shall be disregarded for the purpose of paragraph (6).
(8) Where facilities are shared, each occupant should be able to reach a water closet, wash hand basin and bath or shower without having to pass through accommodation which is occupied exclusively by another occupant or household.
(9) A unit of accommodation shall be more than one floor vertically, or 30 metres horizontally, from the nearest water closet, wash hand basin and bath or shower.
(10) Bathrooms, shower rooms and water closet compartments shall be constructed as to ensure privacy.
(11) Baths, showers, water closets and wash hand basins shall not be permitted in kitchens.
(12) Baths shall be 1.67m minimum in length; shower trays 800mm x 800mm minimum and wash hand basins 360mm x 265mm minimum, each with its own continuous supplies of hot and cold running water.
(13) Bathrooms, shower rooms and water closet compartments shall have surfaces which are designed to be reasonably smooth and non-absorbent and capable of being readily and easily cleaned. Floors shall be slip resistant.
8.-(1) The walls, floor, ceilings, work tops and cupboards of the kitchen must be sound, clean and, as appropriate, well decorated at the commencement of any tenancy.
(2) The kitchen must be laid out in such an arrangement as to allow for its safe use and be easy to keep clean and hygienic by the occupant.
(3) A kitchen, kitchen/dining room or kitchen/living room shall not be shared by more than 10 occupants or 6 households, irrespective of its total floor area.
9.-(1) Each occupant shall be provided with a proper food store, 0.18m3 dry storage and 0.06m3 cold storage, within the unit of accommodation. Households comprising of more than one occupant will require a greater proportionate amount of each type of storage space. Where shared kitchens are provided, each occupant or household sharing shall have their own proper food store either within the unit of accommodation or in the kitchen.
(2) The space in a sink unit below the sink shall not be adequate to meet the standard mentioned in paragraph (1).
10.-(1) A securely fixed worktop shall be provided for each occupant or household using a kitchen, the minimum size of such worktops should be as follows as per Table 3:-
|1 occupant or household||600mm x 600mm|
|2 occupants or households||1200mm x 1200mm|
(2) Increasing in width thereafter by 300mm per additional occupant or household sharing.
(3) In addition to any socket or point used for an electric cooker or oven, there shall be provided in each kitchen a minimum number of double sockets as per Table 4:-
|1-5 occupants||2 double sockets|
|6-10 occupants||3 double sockets|
(4) Double 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.
11.-(1) Each kitchen shall be provided with a proper cooker with at least four rings or hot plates together with a grill and an oven in the following ratios as per Table 5:-
|Household||Number of Cookers|
|1-5 occupants||1 cooker|
|6-10 occupants||2 cookers|
|1-3 households||1 cooker|
|4-6 households||2 cookers|
(2) A kitchen shall not contain more than 2 cookers.
(3) If due to the physical constraints of an existing kitchen (internal arrangement) the fitting of a second cooker would have a detrimental effect on the safety of anyone using that kitchen, a built in microwave oven may be provided. This will only be acceptable if the maximum occupancy within the unit does not exceed 7 occupants.
12.-(1) Each kitchen shall be provided with a stainless steel (or other equally suitable material) sink and drainer (1000mm x 600mm minimum) properly located within a base unit and properly connected through an adequate sized trap to the drains.
(2) Each sink shall have an adequate and wholesome supply of cold drinking water directly off the rising main. There shall also be an adequate continuous supply of hot water.
(3) In shared kitchens, sinks with adequate continuous supplies of hot and cold water shall be provided in the following ratios:-
|1-5 occupants||1 sink|
|6-10 occupants||2 sinks|
|1-3 households||1 sink|
|4-6 households||2 sinks|
(4) In kitchens requiring a second sink a plumbed in full size dishwasher is acceptable in lieu of a second sink.
13.-(1) All fire safety signs, notices and graphical symbols should conform as far as practicable with The Fire Safety Guidance for HMOs.
(2) Existing fire safety signs and notices shall be examined and be replaced if they are found to be inadequate.
14.-(1) External walls must be of sufficient thickness and be of a suitable impervious weather resisting cladding which will afford protection from moisture from the ground and precipitation.
(2) Damp proof course must be adequate and present as and where appropriate. External decoration must be sound and of sufficient quality to last at least 3 years. Any defective joinery shall be properly repaired and decorated.
(3) Rendered surfaces and parapet walls must be in good condition with copings and flashings secure and complete. All brickwork must be sound and vertical with continuous pointing. Chimney stacks must be in good repair with chimney pots securely fixed.
(4) Roofs and rainwater goods must be in a good and serviceable condition. Any loose slates, tiles or aerials, which either presents a possible hazard or may cause defects to the property, should be made safe.
(5) Gutters and down pipes should be fitted, in good condition, clear of blockages and empty into a gulley, adequate soak-away, watercourse or sewer as practicable which in turn should be readily accessible for clearing blockages.
15.-(1) The decoration of the interior must be clean and sound at the commencement of tenancy, with appropriate paintwork to the walls of the bathrooms and kitchens.
(2) Walls, ceilings, floors and skirting boards must be in a sound condition.
(3) Bathrooms and kitchens require impervious flooring with laminate, vinyl or tiled floor coverings, the edges must be sealed to minimise water ingress.
(4) Floor coverings must be provided and be clean, level, sound, well secured and easy to clean, with no frayed areas, to minimise trip hazards paying particular attention to stairs and landings.
(5) The landlord of the HMO must ensure that all common parts of the HMO are:-
(a)maintained in good and clean decorative repair;
(b)maintained in a safe and good working condition; and
(c)kept reasonably clear from obstruction.
(6) The landlord must in particular ensure that:-
(a)all handrails and banisters are at all times kept in good repair;
(b)such additional handrails or banisters as are necessary for the safety of the occupiers of the HMO are provided;
(c)any stair coverings are safely fixed and kept in good repair;
(d)all windows and other means of ventilation within the common parts are kept in good repair;
(e)the common parts are fitted with adequate light fittings that are available for use at all times by every occupier of the HMO; and
(f)fixtures, fittings or appliances used in common within the HMO are maintained in good and safe repair and in clean working order.
(7) This Regulation does not apply in relation to fixtures, fittings or appliances that the occupier is entitled to remove from the HMO or which are otherwise outside the control of the landlord.
(8) The landlord must ensure that:-
(a)outbuildings, yards and forecourts which are used in common living within the HMO are maintained in repair, clean condition and good order;
(b)any garden belonging to the HMO is kept in a safe and tidy condition;
(c)boundary walls, fences and railings (including any basement area railings), in so far as they belong to the HMO, are kept and maintained in good and safe repair so as not to constitute a danger to others; and
(d)all external stairs shall be maintained in non-slip condition.
(9) If any part of the HMO is not in use the landlord shall ensure that such part, including any passage and staircase directly giving access to it, is kept reasonably clean and free from refuse and litter.
(10) In this regulation:-
"common parts" means:-
the entrance door to the HMO and the entrance doors leading to each unit of accommodation within the HMO;
all such parts of the HMO as comprise staircases, passageways, corridors, halls, lobbies, entrances, balconies, porches and steps that are used by the occupiers of the units of accommodation within the HMO to gain access to the entrance doors of their respective unit of accommodation; and
any other part of an HMO the use of which is shared by households living in the HMO, with the knowledge of the landlord.
16. Safety equipment including fire safety equipment and carbon monoxide detectors must be fitted according to The Fire Safety Guidance for HMOs.
17.-(1) Wheeled bins must be provided for occupiers, together with any other recycling bins as required in the council area.
(2) Bins must comply with the current Local Government Waste Storage Guide in the ratios stated for HMOs in Table 1 of the guide.
(3) Occupants must be given clear instructions on refuse disposal and bin collection times.
Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department for Communities on 7th March 2019.
A senior officer of the Department for Communities
(This note is not part of the Order)
These Regulations set out the minimum standards which must be met in order for accommodation to be regarded as suitable for occupation by a prescribed number of persons. The standards include standards as to the number, type and condition of facilities or equipment which should be available in prescribed circumstances.