Carpets in HMOs

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  • Carpets in HMOs

    I heard today that some councils in Scotland are going to insist that all HMO licensed properties have carpets and six sockets in each room.

    Personally I think that this crosses the line as there is no similar requirement for non HMO rented properties, council rented properties or owner occupied properties.

  • #2
    I don't have any HMO but I agree. If this is does become a requirement then I think a line has been crossed.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Sandi View Post
      I heard today that some councils in Scotland are going to insist that all HMO licensed properties have carpets and six sockets in each room.

      Personally I think that this crosses the line as there is no similar requirement for non HMO rented properties, council rented properties or owner occupied properties.
      The requirement for carpets is about protection from noise nuisance. HMOs by definition are inhabited by unrelated tenants, often students or younger people, on separate tenancies, often in converted large houses or flats, who (unlike for example a family) may have minimal interest in being considerate to each other or their neighbours. I have no wish to stereotype but councils do find many complaints about noise centre on HMO tenants.

      And it isn't six sockets in every room, just in the kitchen; it's four in bedrooms/living rooms. Seems eminently reasonable to me. I'm not sure what 'line' anyone thinks has been crossed!

      http://www.business.scotland.gov.uk/...type=RESOURCES
      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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      • #4
        What a load of nonsense so unrelated people walking around a property cause more noise than related people walking around a property.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sandi View Post
          What a load of nonsense so unrelated people walking around a property cause more noise than related people walking around a property.
          There is no need to be rude.

          It is not just about 'walking about'. Carpets offer noise protection from other sources of annoyance such as other people's music, radio, TV, conversation, parties, etc.

          I think you will find that councils do indeed find that the lifestyles and behaviour of tenants in HMOs is typically different from that of families or other kinds of tenants who have some kind of connection to each other and where someone (usually a parent), has some kind of control over household behaviour and noise levels. HMOs, especially multiple separate tenancy ones, tend to house (as I explained before) between two and eight young adults, whether students, young professionals, or whatever. They generally do not know the others in the house and have less incentive/inclination to be quiet and considerate. They have more lively social lives than most families. Nobody has the authority to say 'Right guys, lights out after midight. We mustn't annoy the neighbours upstairs/below'!

          That's a generalisaion of course - some families can be very noisy and selfish and some groups of young people very quiet and considerate. Junior Plymouth Brethren, for example.

          But there is a reason why councils discriminate in these situations. Why do you think fire regs are so much stricter in licensable HMOs than in family lets? Answer : because in a fire, people who are related to each other are more likely to 'look out' for each other than unrelated separate tenants of an HMO.

          If you don't believe me, do some reading up about HMOs. You seem to be struggling to grasp the basics.
          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
            There is no need to be rude.

            It is not just about 'walking about'. Carpets offer noise protection from other sources of annoyance such as other people's music, radio, TV, conversation, parties, etc.

            I think you will find that councils do indeed find that the lifestyles and behaviour of tenants in HMOs is typically different from that of families or other kinds of tenants who have some kind of connection to each other and where someone (usually a parent), has some kind of control over household behaviour and noise levels. HMOs, especially multiple separate tenancy ones, tend to house (as I explained before) between two and eight young adults, whether students, young professionals, or whatever. They generally do not know the others in the house and have less incentive/inclination to be quiet and considerate. They have more lively social lives than most families. Nobody has the authority to say 'Right guys, lights out after midight. We mustn't annoy the neighbours upstairs/below'!

            That's a generalisaion of course - some families can be very noisy and selfish and some groups of young people very quiet and considerate. Junior Plymouth Brethren, for example.

            But there is a reason why councils discriminate in these situations. Why do you think fire regs are so much stricter in licensable HMOs than in family lets? Answer : because in a fire, people who are related to each other are more likely to 'look out' for each other than unrelated separate tenants of an HMO.

            If you don't believe me, do some reading up about HMOs. You seem to be struggling to grasp the basics.
            I fully understand the basics it is about local authorities spending other peoples money. HMO landlords are a very soft target, do you really think they would bring this standard in if the Council had to provide a grant to landlords for this expenditure or if tenants were responsible for this expenditure.

            The fire regulations are equally ridiculous, the fire brigade have a map of areas they consider high risk and areas populated by students are ranked lower than local authority areas.

            Also I confirm that from 31.3.12 the regulations for electrical sockets are (taken from CEC regulations) as below and not per your out of date link:

            The number of electrical socket outlets available for occupier use would be expected to meet at least the following minimum requirements:
            6 in each kitchen
            6 in each bedroom and living room
            4 additional sockets anywhere in the building.

            Comment


            • #7
              6 in a kitchen is laughably few. My domestic kitchen has 19! Fridge, freezer, kettle, microwave, washing machine, toaster, dryer, food mixer, dishwasher, unused toastie maker, etc etc.

              6 in a bedroom will be for fire risk control

              Average HMO 'room'

              Mobile Phone charger
              Laptop charger
              Hair dryer
              Alarm Clock (broken)
              Entertainment system

              Those are just off the top of my head, 4 sockets = almost certain overloading of sockets via 'double adaptors'.

              I am sure your average Scottish HMO landlord does not want his property to suffer a fire. Think of the hassle and loss of revenue whilst the place is restored! I guess there is also the issue of loss of life - but I can't think how to show that in a 'financial' manner.
              Last edited by Snorkerz; 02-04-2012, 13:44 PM. Reason: Made a cup of coffee and counted the sockets

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                6 in a kitchen is laughably few. My domestic kitchen has 19! Fridge, freezer, kettle, microwave, washing machine, toaster, dryer, food mixer, dishwasher, unused toastie maker, etc etc.

                6 in a bedroom will be for fire risk control

                Average HMO 'room'

                Mobile Phone charger
                Laptop charger
                Hair dryer
                Alarm Clock (broken)
                Entertainment system

                Those are just off the top of my head, 4 sockets = almost certain overloading of sockets via 'double adaptors'.

                I am sure your average Scottish HMO landlord does not want his property to suffer a fire. Think of the hassle and loss of revenue whilst the place is restored! I guess there is also the issue of loss of life - but I can't think how to show that in a 'financial' manner.
                I would say that I rent a bedroom and the amount of sockets in that bedroom should be the same as for all other types of housing.

                Having so many electrical items is a tenant's lifestyle choice and if they require more than average then they should purchase a multi plug socket (probably the same as they have in their bedroom at home note the hypocrisy).

                Regarding the fire risk, modern multiplug sockets have a fuse breaker so overloading the socket is not an issue.

                Comment


                • #9
                  No, because if you rent a house all the electrical equipment is distributed around various rooms. In a regular house the electrical items in a 'bedroom' would be minimal. Maybe if you consider that each room in a HMO is a 'dwelling house'. Well it is in England, I don't know the legal terms in Scotland.

                  Your suggestion re 'multi plug sockets' is flawed in so far as if there are insufficient sockets provided then the room is not fit for purpose. Would you consider any of the 5 items I suggested 'excessive' in the 21st century? I know Frankie Boyle jokes that you go back 30 years when you enter Glasgow but I suspect HMO occupiers in Scotland are as au-fait with an i-pad as their compatriots south of the border.

                  Would I be right in guessing you never lived in 'bedsit land' when you were younger?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                    No, because if you rent a house all the electrical equipment is distributed around various rooms. In a regular house the electrical items in a 'bedroom' would be minimal. Maybe if you consider that each room in a HMO is a 'dwelling house'. Well it is in England, I don't know the legal terms in Scotland.

                    Your suggestion re 'multi plug sockets' is flawed in so far as if there are insufficient sockets provided then the room is not fit for purpose. Would you consider any of the 5 items I suggested 'excessive' in the 21st century? I know Frankie Boyle jokes that you go back 30 years when you enter Glasgow but I suspect HMO occupiers in Scotland are as au-fait with an i-pad as their compatriots south of the border.

                    Would I be right in guessing you never lived in 'bedsit land' when you were younger?
                    As far as I am aware each room in a HMO is not classed as a dwelling house in Scotland but also believe that if you applied the English definition of a HMO in Scotland then 95% of Scottish HMOs would be taken out of licensing.

                    For the 5 items you suggested to have its own plug for a hair dryer and its own plug for a mobile phone charger I would regard as excessive.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sandi View Post
                      I fully understand the basics it is about local authorities spending other peoples money. HMO landlords are a very soft target, do you really think they would bring this standard in if the Council had to provide a grant to landlords for this expenditure or if tenants were responsible for this expenditure.
                      HMO LLs are businesspeople like any other.They make a profit from renting to multiple tenants - quite a good profit, in fact, compared with renting the same property to a family or couple. Why should they be treated preferentially? I am an HMO LL and I accept that if I want to rent a large house to six students, there are principles to which I must adhere if that letting is not to impact disproportionately on the neighbourhood or each tenant on the others. Some of those principles will cost me money, but so be it. If I don't agree with the rules, I would have to get out of the game.

                      The fire regulations are equally ridiculous, the fire brigade have a map of areas they consider high risk and areas populated by students are ranked lower than local authority areas.
                      The risk is inherent in the living arrangements, the organisation of the building and the age and lifestyles of the tenants, rather than the neighbourhood per se. HMOs ARE a greater fire risk than family houses - ask any fire safety officer! Furthermore, HMOs do not just house students; some of them are full of young unemployed adults (whether on HB or not). Not sure what you mean by 'local authority areas', though?

                      I despair when LLs start whingeing about fire regulations being 'ridiculous'.

                      Also I confirm that from 31.3.12 the regulations for electrical sockets are (taken from CEC regulations) as below and not per your out of date link:

                      The number of electrical socket outlets available for occupier use would be expected to meet at least the following minimum requirements:
                      6 in each kitchen
                      6 in each bedroom and living room
                      4 additional sockets anywhere in the building.
                      Please supply the link.

                      If it's the case, then good! Snorkerz has outlined the case for six sockets in a bedroom very cogently. Please stop whingeing. Crikey, I'm glad my kids didn't go to uni in Scotland and end up with people with attiudes like yours as their LLs!
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sandi View Post
                        As far as I am aware each room in a HMO is not classed as a dwelling house in Scotland
                        I am inclined to agree, but it doesn't change tha fact that the tenant is limited to using their electrical equipment in only one ares.

                        but also believe that if you applied the English definition of a HMO in Scotland then 95% of Scottish HMOs would be taken out of licensing.
                        True, but not relevant to this thread.

                        For the 5 items you suggested to have its own plug for a hair dryer and its own plug for a mobile phone charger I would regard as excessive.
                        I bet in the majority of cases (the norm) such items would be left permenantly plugged in. I accept that is not safe. However, they may have to share sockets with a myriad of other modern 'essentials'. Just look at www.currys.co.uk If nothing else, vacuum, shaver, radio, fan, electric blanket.

                        Doesn't matter really, if Mr Salmond wants it, you'll have to comply.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                          I am inclined to agree, but it doesn't change tha fact that the tenant is limited to using their electrical equipment in only one ares.

                          True, but not relevant to this thread.

                          I bet in the majority of cases (the norm) such items would be left permenantly plugged in. I accept that is not safe. However, they may have to share sockets with a myriad of other modern 'essentials'. Just look at www.currys.co.uk If nothing else, vacuum, shaver, radio, fan, electric blanket.

                          Doesn't matter really, if Mr Salmond wants it, you'll have to comply.
                          Agree absolutely.

                          I can confirm that the average student bedroom is home to most if not all of the following items:

                          laptop and or TV
                          hairdryer
                          hair straighteners
                          hi-fi and or radio
                          phone charger
                          electric heater
                          small fridge
                          games console
                          iron

                          (In my experience of student rooms the vaccuum cleaner doesn't get much of a look-in!)

                          Six sockets might not be enough....think I'll write to Mr. Salmond and suggest he ups it to eight.

                          ...I really have no sympathy with LLs who try to get away with cramming as many young people as possible in one building (often a poorly-converted family home) without ensuring basic minimum standards.
                          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            MTG, that wasn't a veiled dig at me and my aspiration to be a fat cat landlord was it?

                            I have decided to open a cattery instead of a HMO in view of your threat to cook moggies. Then, as well as being fat, I can be a cat landlord. I think I can fit 237 felines into a 2-bed end terrace, fortunately the HMO rules for cats don't cover sanitation requirements.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                              If it's the case, then good! Snorkerz has outlined the case for six sockets in a bedroom very cogently. Please stop whingeing. Crikey, I'm glad my kids didn't go to uni in Scotland and end up with people with attiudes like yours as their LLs!
                              Ha ha so because I don't agree with the new regulations I am unworthy of your sprogs

                              Fine by me

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