If you are converting a property to an HMO or perhaps already run an HMO, we have compiled a list of the main safety certificates and documents that you will likely need.
Firstly, lets start with the obvious ones:
Gas certificate (CP12) – an annual certificate for safety testing any gas appliances within a property. This is not to be confused with the boiler servicing which is a separate service.
Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) – a report that states the condition of the electrical wiring within the property. It is usually conducted every 3, 5 or 10 years depending on the electricians recommendations stated on the property’s last EICR report.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – EPCs are one of the more controversial documents when it comes to HMOs. As it is difficult to distinguish a single room from an overall house when dealing with individual room lets, this has caused much debate in the market. For peace of mind, we recommend acquiring an EPC which should achieve grade E or higher and serve to tenants, similar to a gas certificate. An EPC is generally valid for 10 years.
And now, the less so common documents/certificates:
Portable Appliance Test (PAT) – Annual safety check of portable electrical appliances. This includes a visual check of wiring and appliance casing as well as electrical tests (earth continuity, lead polarity etc). Landlords are only required to test appliances that have been provided as part of the tenancy.
Fire Detection and Alarm System Report – For larger HMOs (e.g. Grade A alarm system), it is advised to have a service conducted every six months by a qualified professional (e.g. alarm engineer). For smaller HMOs (e.g. Grade D alarm system) it is generally advised to have an annual service. However, it is best to check with your fire alarm contractor on most appropriate advice for your HMO.
Emergency Lighting Inspection and Test Certificate – Similar to the Fire Detection and Alarm System Report, there is some debate regarding the frequency of servicing. It is recommended to have emergency lighting tested every six months by a qualified professional.
Fire Risk Assessment – A large portion of landlords are not aware that a Fire Risk Assessment is required for any HMO. Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is a legal requirement to have a Fire Risk Assessment which provides safety for the occupants but moreover, members of the public and contractors that may have access to the property. Should a fire break out, all individuals (occupants, their guests and contractors) must be able to leave the property easily and safely.
For larger HMOs, a weekly test of the fire detection system is required to be conducted by a competent person and dated/signed within a fire log. For smaller HMOs, it is generally advised that this can be conducted on a monthly basis. Emergency lighting should have a short function test conducted and logged by a competent person.
Overall, fire regulations for properties change frequently, we strongly recommend that you consult your fire risk assessor, Lacors fire guide and the local council for the relevant information.