HMO Kitchen Requirements (10 Must-Haves For Happy Tenants)

Reading Time: 7 minutes

HMOs (House Of Multiple Occupation) are one of the best types of properties.

They offer cheaper housing for tenants and better yields and cash flow for landlords. So a win-win situation for both.

But, these great benefits come at a price. Strict government regulations around safety.

While doing your due diligence you may have come across HMO kitchen requirements.

Each part of an HMO has its own regulation. If you’re an HMO landlord and wondering what all you need to include in your kitchen, this article is for you.

How big should your kitchen be, how many sinks, cupboards, fridges should you have?

What about fire blankets, fire alarms, storage space?

I cover the 10 must-haves that will keep your tenants and the Council happy. They’ll also respect you for the awesome landlord that you are.

Kitchens and bathrooms are two important deciding factors when buying or renting. So high-quality compliant standards will draw the best tenants and keep you out of trouble.

Most regulations vary from council to council, so here are some general guidelines to keep in mind.

Let’s dive right in.

Jump To

  1. Kitchen Size
  2. Cooker With Oven, Grill
  3. Extractor Fan
  4. Sink And Drainer
  5. Electrical Sockets
  6. Worktop
  7. Storage Space (Food Cupboards)
  8. Fire Blankets
  9. White Goods

10. Smoke Alarms

Next Steps

Conclusion

1. Kitchen Size

Having a spacious kitchen will not only make your tenants happy but also keep them safe.

Understanding the required kitchen size is crucial when deciding if you can convert a property into an HMO.

After all, it’s no good if there isn’t enough space for a decent kitchen.

Although it varies by the council, the smallest kitchen size for an HMO is 7 sqm (measured wall-wall).

It should be no less than 1.8m across the narrowest point.

An extra 1 sqm is required for each additional person sharing the kitchen up to a maximum of 10 people i.e. (10 sqm is fine for 8–10 persons).

Key Takeaway:

  • Minimum (Up to 5 people) — 7 sqm kitchen size.
  • 6–10 people — Up to 10 sqm kitchen size.
  • More than 10 people — Need a second kitchen.

2. Cooker With Oven, Grill

Let’s agree here, a cooker, oven and hob are an important part of any kitchen.

After all, nobody likes eating microwaved meals all the time. And it’s bad for you (but that’s a whole other discussion).

As a minimum, the kitchen must have a cooker comprising 4 rings, a standard-sized oven and a grill.

The cooker must also have a safety switch, which means gas does not pass if there is no flame in the cooker. This is important to pass the Gas Safety checks for a Gas Safety certificate.

For larger HMOs with 6–10 people, you can meet the standards by providing a microwave in addition, or a cooker with more than 4 rings and another oven.

For more than 10+ people, you’ll need to provide 2 fully equipped cookers.

Key Takeaway:

  • Minimum (Up to 5 people) — Cooker with 4 rings, standard-sized oven and grill.
  • 6–10 people — Cooker with 4+ rings, 2 standard-sized ovens and grill, microwave.
  • More than 10 people — 2 fully equipped cookers.

3. Extractor Fan

An extractor fan is a very important part of any kitchen or bathroom.

After all, it’s not pleasant entering the kitchen all weekend to Friday night curry smell.

So what type of extractor fan do you need and how many?

One is fine and it should be electrically operated, capable of achieving at least 6 air changes per hour.

You can also use an inbuilt cooker hood fan or a standalone humidity-controlled one.

Make sure it’s fitted in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations and has the option to manually override it.

Key Takeaway:

  • Electrically operated extractor fan. or
  • Inbuilt cooker hood extractor.

4. Sink And Drainer

The next thing your list of HMO kitchen requirements is a sink and drainer.

As a minimum, you should have at least one sink.

A standard 1m sink unit and integrated draining board fixed within a base unit should be fine.

In larger HMOs (6–10 people), you need a double bowled sink and a single drainer or a dishwasher (besides the sink).

The sink must have good pressure, consistent flowing hot and cold fresh drinking water with a regular temperature.

The sink unit must be plumbed into the water supply and drainage systems and have splashback tiles.

Each sink should have a splashback height of at least 300mm.

Key Takeaway:

  • Minimum (Up to 5 people) — 1m sink unit and integrated draining board.
  • 6–10 people — Double bowled sink and a single drainer or a dishwasher (besides to the sink).
  • More than 10 people — 2 sinks.

Here’s an image of the sink and cabinet design from one of our projects.

HMO Kitchen Drawing

The level of detail is important to ensure everything fits and aligns properly.

5. Electrical Sockets

How many electrical sockets should your kitchen have?

As a minimum, you’ll need at least four twin 13 amp power sockets above worktop height.

Besides the worktop sockets, you need at least 1 socket per electrical appliance.

1 each for the dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, fridge freezer or any other appliance.

Factor these into your kitchen layout design and if you’re not sure where to how to place these, your architect should be able to help.

Key Takeaway:

  • Minimum — four twin 13 amp power sockets above worktop height, 1 socket per appliance.

6. Worktop

So, let’s talk about the worktop. After all who doesn’t like a shiny big clean worktop to cook?

This varies from council to council but here’s a general guideline.

As a bare minimum, you’ll need a worktop of at least 0.6m depth x 2m length.

For larger HMOs (6–10 people), you’ll need a larger worktop of no less than 0.6m depth x 3m length.

Your worktop needs to be well-secured and cleanable.

It’s also a good idea to have signs around reminding your tenants to keep the worktop clean and tidy at all times.

Key Takeaway:

  • Minimum (Up to 5 people) — 0.6m depth x 2m length.
  • 6–10 people — 0.6m depth x 3m length.

7. Storage Space (Food Cupboards)

Let’s talk about food storage. After all your tenants need to store their dry food in a nice dry safe place.

For each person, you need to include at least one storage cabinet of at least 0.2 cubic metres in volume.

Design your cabinets in line with the following specs

Length: 600mm Depth: 500mm Height: 700mm

You cannot use the space under the sink for food storage as it’s a high moisture environment.

And let’s face it, nobody likes their food soaked, even by accident.

Key Takeaway:

  • Minimum (Up to 5 people) — 600mm length, 500mm depth and 700mm height.
  • Do not use the space under the sink for food storage.

8. Fire Blankets

A Fire Blanket is used to restrain a small fire or even wrap around a person to protect them, in case of a fire.

It works by stopping the supply of oxygen to the fire.

Provide one fire blanket complying with the requirements of BS 6575: 1985 within the kitchen area.

Also, fix the fire blanket about 1500 mm from the floor.

You can read more about the High-Quality Fire Standards we use, in this article about HMO Fire Regulations.

Key Takeaway:

  • Minimum (Up to 5 people) — one fire blanket fixed about 1500mm from the floor and complying with BS 6575: 1985 standards.

9. White Goods

Having the correct white goods is important and necessary for your tenants.

It’s no use having a state of the art blender if there’s no fridge freezer or microwave.

Just like in your home, there are some essential white goods that forms the integral part of your HMO kitchen requirements.

These should be of good quality and PAT tested (Portable Appliance Tested).

As a minimum, you should include:

Fridge Freezer

A clean and well functioning fridge freezer.

Although it doesn’t have to be top of spec, it needs to be of decent quality, at least 5 cu ft in capacity (0.15m3) and of worktop height.

Good storage capacity means your tenants will be able to store more food and be happy.

For larger HMOs (6–10 people) you’ll need a larger fridge freezer of 9 cu ft in capacity 0.27m3.

Key Takeaway:

  • Minimum (Up to 5 people) — 5 cu ft (0.15 m3).
  • 6–10 people — 9 cu ft (0.27 m3).

Microwave

A microwave is an essential part of any household today and should be in your HMO kitchen plan.

As a bare minimum, you’ll need at least one microwave oven of 700 W and a larger one or 2 in case of bigger HMOs (6–10 people).

Key Takeaway:

  • Minimum (Up to 5 people) — 1 microwave, 700W.
  • 6–10 people — larger microwave or 2.

Washing Machine

Having a washing machine is essential nowadays so you should include one in your HMO kitchen.

You can also choose to install it in a laundry room (if you have one).

Even so, include it so your tenants can take manage their laundry with great ease.

You don’t need to provide a dryer but if you can, that’s a big benefit for tenants too.

10. Smoke Alarms

Depending on the size of your HMO, the fire regulations can vary.

In smaller HMO’s you’ll a Grade D, Category LD3 smoke alarm system.

In the larger ones, you’ll need a Grade A or mixed system.

We go into great detail about Smoke Alarms in our other article about HMO Fire Regulations.

Key Takeaway:

  • Minimum (Up to 5 people) — Grade D, Category LD3 smoke alarm system.
  • 6–10 people — Grade A or mixed system.

Next Steps

OK, now you know a great deal about what the HMO kitchen requirements are and how to stay compliant.

Where do you go from here?

Once you’ve purchased the property, I recommend you work with a kitchen manufacturer like Howdens to maximise your space.

They’ll produce a custom drawing and digital layout (as below).

This way you can see exactly what you’re getting and how it would look before you buy it.

It’s worth every penny because if you order the worktop and buy the white goods, and they don’t fit, it’s a huge waste of time and money.

Or you can also let your architect handle this for you.

Here are our kitchen designs in partnership with Howdens from our project in Liverpool.

HMO Kitchen Design 1 - Howdens
HMO Kitchen Design 2 - Howdens

Conclusion

I hope this article helped you learn more about HMO kitchen requirements and how to stay compliant in 2021.

Assess the kitchen size when looking at properties, to check if it’s large enough for tenants to cook and move freely.

If you’ve got many HMOs, it’s a good idea to buy appliances and white goods in bulk so you can get them at a discount.

You can also check the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) for special pricing on kitchens for registered members.

Lastly, include notices to tenants to keep the kitchen neat, tidy and report in case of damage or breakage.

If you’d like to talk to an architect that’s helped hundreds of people design beautiful kitchens to satisfy the HMO kitchen requirements, please get in touch.

We’d love to help you.

Giovanni Patania

Giovanni Patania

(Architect Director, Co-Founder)

Giovanni is the Lead Architect and Co-Founder at HMO Architect and Windsor Patania Architects.

Originally from Siena Italy, Giovanni worked as a Lead Architect at Foster+ Partners, designing stores for Apple all over the world,

"I Co-Founded Windsor&Patania - Architecture and Developments, together with Ryan Windsor, my good friend and multi-award winning Property Investor.

Our mission is to is help our clients structure all kinds of developments taking care of any aspect of it, from the design to the investment strategy and financing."

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