Section 257 House in multiple occupation (S257 HMO) definition

What is a Section 257 house in multiple occupation (S257 HMO)?

The Housing Act 2004 outlines the definition of a Section 257 house in multiple occupation (S257 HMO) which is detailed and complex.

A S257 HMO is a building which has been converted, or part converted, into self-contained flats that did not comply with the appropriate building standards and still does not comply with those standards, and less than two-thirds of the self-contained flats are owner occupied.

Buildings converted into self-contained flats will generally not be S257 HMOs, provided that they were converted in accordance, or now comply, with the appropriate building standards required at the time of the conversion.

The appropriate building standards, as a minimum, will be the 1991 Building Regulations.

For information regarding traditional HMOs (Bedsit style or Shared) please refer to the HMO Definition page.

What Legislation and Regulations apply to S257 HMOs?

All S257 HMOs must have regards, but not limited, to:

It is the responsibility of all landlords, licence holders, managers, and persons in control of all premises, to ensure they make themselves aware of all their legal requirements.

Do I need a Fire Risk Assessment for my S257 HMO?

All buildings which consist of two or more sets of domestic premises are subject to a Fire Risk Assessment under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Guidance documents are available via the GOV.UK webpage Fire safety: guidance for those with legal duties

Fire Risk Assessments for certain other buildings are also covered under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

What is a Fire Alarm Certificate and is it the same as a fire risk assessment?

This is an annual test certificate, which is usually completed by a qualified Electrician or competent fire safety expert and will confirm that the fire alarm detection system that is installed, is in correct working order.

The fire alarm test certificate differs to your fire risk assessment and only confirms the system is in the correct working order but does not confirm it is the correct system for the style of property, or that the property fire safety is adequate.

A competent person or a fire risk assessor can be appointed to review the Alarm system required for your property, and the suitability of the fire safety standards, and reference should be made to the Lacors fire safety guidance document for S257 HMOs.

You can download a copy of the Lacors fire safety guidance document below.

Need guidance for fitting fire doors?

The following video is a helpful guide for fitting fire doors.

Does my S257 HMO need a landlord licence?

Currently S257 HMOs are not subject to landlord licensing, however, the self-contained flats situated within the S257 HMO may be subject to Additional HMO, Mandatory HMO, or Selective licensing.

You can review the dedicated pages to see if your self-contained flats are subject to landlord licensing.

What management regulations apply to my S257 HMO?

All S257 HMOs are subject to the Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007.

These regulations place a duty on the individuals managing all, or part, of an S257 HMO and breaching these regulations is an offence which may result in a prosecution and/or a fine, or the issuing of civil penalty under The Housing and Planning Act 2016 as an alternative to prosecution.

Can I view the council’s enforcement policies?

The enforcement policies are available for public view via the enforcement policy page.

Who pays the council tax on a S257 HMO?

You will need to check with the council tax team for all matters relating to council tax.

Where do I complain about a S257 HMO?

You can report a problem S257 HMO to us by completing the online form on our complain about a rented property page.

Downloadable documents

If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.

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