Houses in multiple occupation

Standards required in HMOs

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) must meet certain standards with regard to adequate heating, lighting, ventilation, provision of water, toilet, bathroom and kitchen facilities for the number of tenants.

Amenity standards

We have adopted the Essex approved code of practice for amenity standards in HMOs. If you manage or control a HMO, you have a duty to make sure it meets these standards, together with the provisions of management regulations – go to UK legislation: Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation. These apply to all HMOs, whether they are licensable or not.

Space standards

Bedrooms in a HMO must be the right size. The minimum floor space is as follows:

Maximum number of people Floor area of letting room with separate kitchen
1 person unit 8.5 square metres
2 person unit 12 square metres

Where other rooms - for example, shared lounges - are available in addition to a bedsit room, then the room sizes shown may be varied at the discretion of the inspecting officer.

Fire safety in HMOs

HMOs are considered to have a higher risk of a fire than average properties, and must therefore have adequate means of escape and other fire precautions.

We take guidance from the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) publication, 'Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing', available from GOV.UK Fire safety law and guidance documents for business.

Landlords of HMOs should ask us for specific requirements in each case.

If you are an owner of an HMO or are thinking of converting your property to HMO use and would like an inspection of your property and further advice, send your request to us.

Houses in multiple occupation


HMO management

With HMOs there are specific legal duties concerning the maintenance and repair of:

  • water supply
  • drainage
  • gas and electricity supply
  • common parts of the house hall, landings stairs and kitchen
  • toilets, baths, hand basins
  • bedrooms
  • windows and ventilation
  • means of escape from fire, including other fire precautions
  • outbuildings and yards in common use

There are additional duties as to the general safety of residents. These include making sure the name and address and telephone number of the person managing the house is displayed in a properly visible part of the house.

Inspection of HMOs

We inspect HMOs at regular intervals to check that standards are being met.

Private Housing service
Thurrock Council, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, RM17 6SL