Regardless of whether a HMO is subject to any form of licensing or not, there is additional legislation in place that applies to the management of HMOs. As well as the Housing Act 2004, the primary piece of legislation that applies specifically to HMO management is The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Wales) Regulations 2006.
Before going into the regulations, it’s important to understand the definitions of the “person having control” and the “person managing” the property, as defined in Section 263 of the Housing Act 2004. The “person having control” is defined as the person who receives the rack-rent of the premises, whereas the person(s) or company (such as a letting agent) who receives the payment of rent from the tenant(s) is deemed to be the "person managing".
The regulations set out a number of provisions, including;
This provision states that the property manager's name, address and telephone contact number must be made available and displayed at the property.
The primary part of this clause is to ensure that all means of escape from fire are kept free from obstruction and maintained in good order. It also goes on to state that any fire fighting equipment and fire alarm system must be maintained in good working order.
This clause states that a gas safety certificate and periodic electrical report must be supplied to the local authority within seven days of either one being requested. The periodic electrical report must be no more than five years old, but a visual check (at the very least) must also be carried out upon each change of tenancy. As with any residential property, the gas safety certificate must be no more than one year old.
As the title suggests, the legislation also places duties on occupiers of HMOs, which, amongst other things, includes allowing the property manager to carry out their duties, and not to hinder these duties. A key part of placing some responsibility onto the occupier(s) is to ensure that they were given adequate instructions before or upon moving into the property, thereby knowing how to comply with their obligations.
The Management of HMO Regulations 2006 states that “these Regulations apply to any HMO in Wales other than a converted block of flats to which Section 257 of the Act applies.” However, an additional provision was made in 2007 titled The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (Wales) Regulations 2007, which ensures Section 257 HMOs have to follow the same provisions. The definition of a Section 257 HMO can be found on our ‘What is a HMO?’ page.