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Fire Risk Assessment for HMO's?

The definition of house in multiple occupation (HMO) is contained in section 254 of the Housing Act 2004.


The definition is complex and for detailed understanding then the Act itself should be studied. For general purposes the definition can be summarised as follows.

A building is an HMO if it:

  • Is occupied by more than one household and where more than one household shares (or lacks) an amenity such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities

  • Is occupied by more than one household and is a converted building, but not entirely self-contained flats

  • Is converted self-contained flats but does not meet as a minimum standard the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations, and more than one third of the flats are privately rented

  • An HMO declaration has been made by the Local Housing Authority (LHA) under section 255 of the Housing Act 2004.

Does the Fire Safety Order apply to HMO's?

It does not apply to flats or bedsits of the HMO but the fire safety order does apply to the:

  • Common parts of HMOs (but not shared houses)

  • Common parts of buildings containing flats and maisonettes

  • Common parts of sheltered accommodation.


The landlord or managing agent of the HMO has a legal obligation to consider:

  • Measures to reduce the risk of fire occurring

  • Measures to reduce the spread of any fire through the premises ie compartmentation, fire doors etc.

  • Measures in relation to the means of escape ie, ensure escape routes remain clear & exit is easily gained

  • Measures to ensure the means of escape can be safely used at all times

  • Firefighting measures ie, fire extinguishers 

  • Means of fire detection and warning

  • Action to be taken in the event of a fire

All of the above will be taking into consideration during a fire risk assessment of all communal areas which should be carried out as required by the fire safety order 2005.

The following guide is commonly used for risk assessment purposes within HMO's which can be downloaded here:

LACORS Housing Fire Safety

However if the HMO has been converted after 1991 then the relevant building regulations and standards will apply.

For more information on anything contained within this section please get in touch or if you would like a quote for your HMO you can get an instant online quote here.

You can also get a breakdown of our fire risk assessment costs by visiting our pricing page and downloading a copy of our costs breakdown.

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