When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Problems with your HMO manager

HMO properties have to be managed by a fit and proper person. This person has to follow a code of practice, which explains how your HMO should be managed.

Who is the HMO manager?

The HMO manager may be your landlord, your letting agent or another person who has been instructed to manage the HMO. The HMO license for your property should clearly state who is in charge of managing the property. This license should be displayed in a visible location within the HMO. There may also be more than one manager of your HMO.

A person is considered to be a HMO manager if they:

  • Receive rents, or other payment, from the residents of the HMO; or
  • Are responsible for arranging repairs or refurbishments of the property; or
  • Send or receive communications about the HMO to or from the residents or the council; or
  • Does any other activity which helps with the management of a HMO.

What is a fit and proper person?

When deciding if the person who will be managing the HMO is a fit and proper person, the council will consider if the person has:

  • committed any offence involving drugs, fraud, violence, human trafficking, firearms, sexual offences;
  • practiced unlawful discrimination;
  • broken any laws relating to tenancies or housing;
  • breached the code of practice for HMO managers.

The council will also take into account how the property manager has dealt with any anti-social behaviour carried out by or affecting residents of properties they have previously managed; and must consider any anti-social behaviour the property manager has engaged in him or herself.

Code of Practice for HMOs

Your HMO manager must look after the property and your tenancy in accordance with a code of practice. The code of practice makes the HMO manager responsible for a number of different areas.

Acommodation standards

The HMO manager must make sure that:

  • the property continues to meet standards for water supply and drainage and ventilation;
  • electrical testing is done every five years and that gas safety checks are carried out annually;
  • Copies of electrical safety certificates and gas safety certificates are given to the council.

Fire safety and carbon monoxide

The HMO manager must make sure that:

  • fire alarms and fire-fighting equipment is provided in line with the Fire Safety Guidance for HMOs;
  • any equipment provided is in good working order at the start and throughout the tenancy;
  • notices indicating fire escape routes are displayed so they are clearly visible to the residents of the HMO;
  • there is a carbon monoxide alarm in any room which contains a fuel burning combustion appliance;
  • there is a continuous supply of electricity to the fire detection systems – it is not acceptable for these to be connected to a prepay meter circuit.

Interior, exterior and common parts

The HMO manager must make sure that:

  • a new occupant’s room, and any furniture provided, is clean at the start of the tenancy;
  • the internal structure of the property is kept in good repair;
  • any fixtures, fittings or appliances provided are maintained in good working order and comply with relevant product safety legislation;
  • windows and other forms of ventilation are kept in good repair;
  • any large device system or equipment that has been installed is maintained in good repair, clean condition and proper working order;
  • the common parts of the building are looked after and kept clean, safe and free from obstruction;
  • any yard, garden or outbuilding belonging to the HMO is maintained in good repair and clean condition;
  • the condition of fences and boundary walls does not pose a danger to residents.

Rubbish and litter

The HMO manager must make sure that:

  • there are enough bins or other receptacles for the requirements of the residents of the HMO;
  • arrangements are made for further disposal of any refuse or litter from the HMO if this is necessary;
  • rubbish and litter do not accumulate in or outside the HMO, unless this has been properly stored while waiting for collection or disposal.

Information, signs and notices

The HMO manager must make sure that;

  • a notice explaining who the property manager is has been displayed in the HMO;
  • a copy of the Code of Practice is displayed in the HMO;
  • these notices and documents are kept up to date;
  • he or she has explained to tenants the type of behaviour which would be regarded as unsuitable.

Your responsibilities under the code of practice

Most of the information in the Code of Practice relates to things the manager must do. But, you and the other residents also have certain responsibilities.

Help if your HMO manager isn’t following the Code of Practice

Get advice if you are concerned about how your property manager is looking after your HMO.

You can report your concerns to the council’s HMO unit. If the breach is serious, the council may feel that the HMO manager is no longer a fit and proper person and revoke the HMO license.