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UK Property Building Regulations & HMO Legislation Guide

mlm-editorial, 31 months agoClock icon9 min read

UK Property Building Regulations & HMO Legislation Guide

Whether you’re a landlord or are simply looking to renovate your property, there are many housing and building regulations that need to be abided by

These regulations are there for health and safety, ensuring that electrics are properly wired, that there are adequate fire escapes, and that extensions are built safely.

The legalities associated with property are complex and varied. For whatever reason you’re purchasing a property, whether you’ll be an owner-occupier or want to buy-to-let, you have a specific set of requirements and regulations. If you fail to comply with building regulations, you can receive a fine.

In this guide we detail both HMO and Building Regulations, as well as the fines and penalties that you could incur as a result of non-compliance.


HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) Regulations


Legislation: Housing Act 2004, Housing and Planning Act 2016

Penalties: Unlimited fines, banning orders, rent repayment orders, confiscation of property, imprisonment 


Your property is considered to be a HMO if: 

- It is let to three or more tenants from more than one household

- It requires that some or all of the tenants share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

- At least one tenant pays rent


HMO landlords must: 

  • - Ensure that fire safety measures are in place, for example working smoke alarms

  • - Ensure that annual gas safety checks are carried out

  • - Check the safety of the electrics every 5 years

  • - Ensure that the property isn’t overcrowded

  • - Ensure that there are enough cooking facilities and bathrooms 

  • - Maintain communal areas and shared facilities

  • - Provide enough rubbish bins and bags


Find out more about HMO landlord responsibilities.


HMO Penalties


These regulations govern the standards that HMOs should operate within. Letting a licensable HMO without a licence is an offence that can result in fines, often in the range of £10,000-£40,000. These penalties apply to any person or company that has control of or manages the property.

Landlords who operate a licensable HMO without a licence may also have to repay rent to their tenants during a 12 month period — this is known as a Rent Repayment Order (RRO).


Building Regulations


Legislation: Building Regulations 2010, Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, Building Act 1984

Penalties: Up to £5,000 fine per offence, plus daily fines for each day the non-compliant work isn’t fixed


When designing or constructing a property, building regulations must be abided by in order to ensure the health and safety of the people that will use the buildings. They also ensure that fuel and power can be conserved, or that people with limited mobility can use the building properly. 


You will need to seek buildings regulations approval if: 

  • - You wish to build a new building

  • - You wish to extend or alter an existing building

  • - You wish to provide washing or sanitary facilities, hot water cylinders, foul water drainage, replacement windows, or fuel burning appliances


Whether you intend to carry out the building work personally or hire a professional builder, it’s important to understand how the regulatory system applies to you, and who is responsible for compliance in your build.

Building regulations are divided into 16 parts: 



Building Regulations Penalties 


Failure to comply with building regulations is a criminal offence. At the very least, you will be liable for any remedial action that you may need to take as a result of the non-compliant building work. At the most, you can be convicted and fined up to £5,000 per offence, as well as an added daily fine every day the regulation violation is not amended.

In order to avoid this, you should always discuss proposals with a planning authority before starting work.


Abiding by Property Regulations


So whether you’re buying a property to rent to tenants, or will be the owner-occupier, it’s essential that you abide by property regulations in order to avoid large fines or even a criminal record.

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