Rules relating to  the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006’ as well as the 29 categories within the HHSRS scheme, apply.

The rules can be complicated and because all HMO’s are set up differently, no one rule applies to all. Responsibility of ensuring safety of tenants rests with the ‘person responsible’ for the premises. 

If you manage a licensed HMO (3-4 people unrelated) or (5 or more people unrelated), you have a duty of care as a responsible person to asses, control & manage the property.

You must assess the risks – identify the hazards and the people who are placed at risk by them and remove or reduce the hazard and risks so far as they reasonably can and then put in place fire precautions to protect people from the risks that remain.

Regulation 10 of the HMO Management regulation’s imposes a duty on to ‘a responsible person’ to ensure that all means of escape are maintained in good order, and that ‘responsible person’ to carry out a risk assessment in a HMO, to safeguard against fatal events occurring.

Are you the responsible person? If so, are you deemed competent to carry out risk assessments that may endanger the lives of others?

Under guidance given by the government, HMOs can be very complicated and because all HMOs are set up differently, there is no one rule that applies to all. Some common misconceptions, interpretations and wrong advice given by builders and architects have resulted in HMO’s to be non-complaint.

Coventry City Council is currently proactively targeting the local HMO market, to ensure all HMO properties are safe and standards are met.

Do you have 3 or 4 people living in your property that share a kitchen? If ‘yes’, then you have a HMO!

Under your duties within Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and Article 4 section of the Fire Safety Order 2005, you have a legal obligation to provide a high level of safety within your HMO.

Article 4 is a change to planning regulations which would mean that any property that had established use as a single dwelling house (Planning Use Class C3) and a owner wants to change its use to a small HMO (Planning Use Class C4) planning consent would be needed.

With a local authority adopting an Article 4 direction it would remove the previous permitted development rights for changes to be made.  Therefore any HMO, regardless of the number of tenants, automatically would require planning permission.


Simple answer No.  A Fire Risk Assessment is a legal document that may have to be presented to the Council, Enforcement Officer or to the courts.  They will be looking for proof of your ‘competency’ to carry out the Fire Risk Assessment, in the first place.


It is a misconception when developers and builders assume that if Article 4 does not exist in an area it automatically gives rights to develop HMO’s.  There are to bearing factors here.

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