About The RLA Guide ToThe Housing Act

Welcome to the Residential Landlords Association website for Houses in Multiple Occupation, Property Licensing and Fire Safety Guidance. You will find information for anyone involved in the Private Rented Sector, whether landlord, tenant, lender, professional or anyone else who has an interest in the sector.

Overall, the Housing Act 2004 has introduced many changes affecting the Private Rented Sector. Our site gives detailed guidance and explanation on all of these topics.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) include

  • bedsits,
  • shared houses, such as those occupied by students, are subject to special rules.
  • hostels,
  • bed & breakfast accommodation etc.

Not all HMOs are licensable although the larger HMOs do need a licence. Some local authorities have adopted selective licensing and, where this applies, all privately rented properties require a licence.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) applies to all residential accommodation; not just that in the Private Rented Sector. It enables local authorities to deal with 29 different risks, including cold, trips and falls and danger from fire. Fire safety in residential accommodation is a complex area, especially as both local Councils and the Fire and Rescue Service have a role in enforcing standards.

How can you access the information on our site?

There are three ways to use this site

  1. The RLA Unique Property Selector
  2. So long as you know :

    • the number of occupants and
    • the number of floors,

    by selecting the appropriate property type and answering a series of questions, you will be told whether or not the property is an HMO, whether it requires a licence and be given information about the relevant fire safety legislation which applies to that property.

  3. The RLA Fire Safety Guide
  4. This includes:

    • a table (with property diagrams) explaining the different pieces of legislation which affect different types of property and the different areas within the property itself.
    • It explains Fire Safety law as it affects HMOs and flats, both owner occupied and rented.
    • There is then detailed guidance on the different areas of legislation and technical guidance regarding the provision of fire precautions etc.

    We also explain how to go about carrying out a fire risk assessment if one is required. Detail is given regarding the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

  5. The RLA Documentation Index
  6. The complete documentation includes:

    • the main topics of HMOs and licensing (which is a general introduction),
    • which HMOs are licensable
    • how licensing operates,
    • the regulations affecting non licensable HMOs,
    • the Housing Health and Safety Rating System
    • selective licensing.
    • This includes a detailed subject index of all the information contained on the site. Click here for a list of the main topics and subject index.

    A special feature is our map and list of those areas subject to selective licensing. This is the only readily available database nationally for this information.

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