What is Involved in HMO Property Inspections?

If you are looking to obtain your HMO licence, a property inspection is an inevitable part of the licence application process. Before issuing your licence, the Council has a duty to assess HMOs to ensure they meet fire and amenity standards. They also must check that there are no hazards under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) that could impact tenants.

Councils are also authorised to carry out routine inspections of your HMO, and can require that you carry out monthly or quarterly inspections yourself to ensure standards are maintained and to remedy any issues that can arise.

​In a property inspection for an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation), there are a few things that typically happen. We’ve compiled a full HMO property inspection checklist to help prepare you for your inspection and cover everything you’ll need to know.

hmo property inspections

HMO Licence Inspection Checklist

We’ve pulled together the below handy checklist for HMO property inspections that are typically covered during the inspection process for your HMO licence.

  • Room Size Standards – Your appointed inspector will review your room sizes to make sure they are adequate for your tenants, based on the minimum room sizes set out in the licensing requirements.. To ensure your HMO is compliant, make sure that you are up to speed with the minimum room size and layout requirements for your specific HMO. These can vary depending on the size of your HMO.
  • Fire Safety – The inspector will be checking that adequate safety measures have been put in place such as smoke detectors, fire doors, extinguisher, escape routes and fire doors. Fire safety regulations are a core part of building regulations, so knowing the exact fire safety requirements for your HMO is important.
  • Gas Safety – A gas safety certificate is mandatory to obtain your HMO licence if you property has a gas supply. Your appointed inspector will be checking for gas safety compliance, including examining your gas appliances for maintenance and safe installation.
  • Electrical Safety – Sometimes local councils will require safety certificates for your electrical appliances, so you’ll need to find out which ones should be obtained. Your inspector will also check general electrical appliance installation, such as wiring, sockets and switches, to ensure they are well maintained and safe to use.
  • Facilities & Amenities – You want your tenants to have an enjoyable and comfortable living space right? Well, so does your local planning authority. The appointed inspector will examine the condition of facilities shared by the occupants, such as bathrooms and kitchens, to make sure they are well maintained, clean and sufficient.
  • Structure & Maintenance – One thing your inspector will be looking out for is any concerns with regards to overall maintenance. This can include structural problems such as cracks in the walls, signs of damp and condition of areas like windows and plumbing. Make sure your HMO is up to standard in these areas before applying for your licence.
  • Overall Hygiene – The cleanliness of your HMO is key to the health and safety of your occupants, so your inspector will also be looking out for any cleanliness issues or hazards during the HMO property inspection. This includes checks for pests, mold, damp and waste disposal. Any hygiene concerns in your HMO should be addressed prior to any licence application.
hmo property inspection electrical items

Carrying Out Your Own HMO Property Inspections

Once you have obtained your HMO licence, it’s recommended that you continue to carry out HMO property inspections at regular intervals to ensure that the quality of the space isn’t falling by the wayside. This is particularly important for shared areas such as living spaces and kitchens where damage or safety issues are more likely to happen.

HMO Inspection Checklists Templates from Local Councils

To help you even further in planning for your HMO inspection, we have pulled together some examples of checklists provided by local councils for conducting your own HMO property inspections

Bath & North East Somerset Council

An extensive HMO inspection checklist can be found on the bathnes.gov.uk website by visiting their checklist document.

This is a comprehensive checklist that can be used by both landlords and council inspectors, and covers everything from fire alarm testing to document checks.

Oxford City Council

The Oxford council also offers a downloadable HMO checklist that landlords can use when inspecting their property.

This checklist covers all the key rooms in the property and checks that should be made, including general structural and maintenance observations.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Stoke-on-Trent city council has a simple HMO checklist that you can use to carry out routine HMO property inspections.

As always, it’s best to check the local requirements in your local area and obtain checklists from them for the most comprehensive and relevant checks for your area.

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