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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    Wash basins in HMO rooms

    I am applying for a licence because my HMO now requires it under the new rules.  In the draft licence the EHO has asked that I install wash basins in the bedrooms.  I thought that despite being mentioned in amenity standards this was normally not required.  Any advice on how to get this condition relaxed?

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    Wash hand basins within bedrooms (where five or more occupiers occupy the HMO) :

     Each bedroom must have a wash hand basin, minimum size 500mm x 600mm, provided with constant and adequate supply of hot and cold water and properly connected to the drainage system. Plug must be provided to the wash hand basin.

     A tiled splashback (minimum 300mm high) shall be provided to the wash hand basin.

    NB: A wash hand basin is not required where a sink with a constant and adequate supply of cold and hot water is provided within the letting on the grounds that the sink can be used for personal washing in addition to food preparation. 

    This comes from Hammersmith and Fulham ( London) guidance on HMO's. So i expect its the same for other areas.

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    Hi,

    You need to submit a written representation explaining why this requirement is not appropriate for your property. This is the cheapest and simplest way to try and get the matter resolved, which may avoid a more costly Tribunal appeal.

    Regards

    Richard

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    Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH

    Managing Director

    London Property Licensing

    Email: Richard@londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    This information is intended as general advice and guidance. It is not legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. No liability can be accepted for any reliance on the information published in this response. You may wish to obtain independent legal advice.

    Wow, never knew it was a requirement for HMOs. We have been installing basins in  all our properties anyway and try to up the standards everywhere especially as once done properly is all that is required. Certainly improved let-ability.

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    This varies from area to area.

    My local authority state that a WHB should be installed where practical.

    I only have a WHB in one of the 5 bedrooms.

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    shouldnt vary as its statute applying nationally.

    the act does say something like where practical.

    none of ours have whb in bedrooms.

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    Does the Act state this? I thought it was in The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions)(Engand) Regulations 2006 that it was a requirement to have WB in every bedroom for an HMO with 5 or more people which was amended by The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007 to make it a requirement to have WBs in every bedroom of all HMOs where reasonably practical.

    The maximum length of pipe you can have are:

    32mm - 1.7m with a fall of 18-22mm / metre (I know the table says 30mm but the minimum trap diameter is 32mm and the pipe has to be at least as big as this)

    40mm - 3m with a fall of 18-44mm / metre

    50mm - 4m with a fall of 18-44 mm / metre

    (see page 9 of https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/...H_2015.pdf (the same dimensions were in the 2002 regs)(these are the current regs linked to from the planning portal)

    The minimum drops mean that if your pipework needs to cross joists it will need to be above the floor. You can make the pipes longer but you will need branch ventilating pipes to external air or to the stack or an air admittance valve. none of these are reasonably practical in a bedroom.

    You could use 100mm pipe which has a 15m length restriction but if it is crossing joists it will need to be above the floor.

    You will need rodding points so that you can access all the lengths of pipes. This makes it very difficult to run a pipe round the walls.

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    there you are you have confirmed it:

    The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007 to make it a requirement to have WBs in every bedroom of all HMOs where reasonably practical.

    as I said these are national regulations so there should be no local variations.

    ​is it unpractical to install air admittance valves in bedrooms...I dont think so.

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    I wasn't disagreeing that wash basins should be installed where practical. I was asking you to show where it was in an Act as the only place I knew the requirement was stated was in regulations. If it was in an Act then it would override the regulations.

    There was a reason that the regulations were changed a year after they were introduced. As I heard at the time, John Prescott was the one who pushed for wash basins in every bedroom in the 2006 regulations as it was something that he was used to growing up in the north where it is more common (I believe). The water companies were not happy about the sudden increase in the number of taps in the drought in the summer of 2006. Most local authorities were getting round the requirement by putting an implementation period longer than the length of the licence. JP was the reason the requirement is still there and extended to all HMOs but saner heads got the 'where reasonably practical' included.

    Yes, you can put air vents in, but you still have to include rodding points for each straight length of pipe which needs to be done at the bends to allow rodding of the full length of the pipe. You can't do this in the internal corners of rooms. There are also limitation on where you can put the air vent and the distance between basins. You may also need to install an additional stack to cope with the potential additional flow.

    Why don't you have the basins in your HMOs as you appear to think it is practical?

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    thanks for background.

    its clear from my post I wasnt proclaiming to have concise knowledge on this, i.e. I said:

    the act does say something like where practical.

    the point of my post was:

    shouldnt vary as its statute applying nationally.

    you agree that that the law applies nationally.  whether this is via national act or regulations wasnt my point and to most is rather academic.

    I never expressed any views at all whether whb installation is practical.  I only disagreed with your statement that its not practical to install aav's in bedrooms.  obviously some basins will be harder than others to install and some will be very hard/ impossible.  depends on circumstances.  we havent installed WHB's as no one has ever asked for it (I dont think there is a demand), it will take up room, it will cost, most of our hmo's are not room lets so communal living is ok, time and disruption lifting floorboards, more maintenance, more leaks, etc.

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    whether this is via national act or regulations wasnt my point and to most is rather academic

    Which is a problem with most landlords as far as I am concerned. If you don't keep up with the laws surrounding the industry you work in then there is a problem. You said there was an act which is quite specific where you say you were intending to be vague. If there is a new Act that I haven't seen then I want to know about it.

    The installation of an AAV for 1 basin is not impractical but if you have multiple basins which is almost certain  in an HMO then there are limitations on how close the basins need to be to use one pipe. This means it is likely you will need multiple pipes which will cause difficulties when you come to attach them to your stack. This is ignoring the requirement for rodding points. The retro-fitting of basins in multiple rooms is not practical in most properties.

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