Mastering HMO Inspections – Ensuring Safety, Cleanliness and Compliance

August 29, 2023
Written by
Team Hive

As a landlord or lady, regular inspections of your House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are crucial to ensure the safety of your tenants and maintain the condition of your property.

These inspections are mandated by the law in the UK – so it's vital you know what you're doing, when you're doing it, and why.

In this blog post, we'll dive into what you should prioritise during these inspections, the difference between interim and final inspections, and how to perform inspections with tenants occupying the property. We'll also explore any legal restrictions, as well as variations between student and professional HMOs.

What should you prioritise during HMO inspections?

HMO inspections should focus on three main areas:

  • Safety: This includes the working condition of fire protection systems, heating and electrical systems, and checking for hazards. Also, inspect the exits and evacuation routes to ensure they are clear and accessible.
  • Cleanliness and Hygiene: Regularly inspect common areas like bathrooms, kitchens and shared living spaces for cleanliness. If defective fittings are found, promptly arrange for repairs.
  • Overcrowding: Ensure your HMO is not overpopulated beyond its maximum occupancy limit, as this can lead to safety risks and may violate HMO licensing conditions.

What is the difference between interim inspections vs. final inspections?

1. Interim Inspections

While there is no legal requirement for these, landlords generally conduct interim inspections every three to six months. The purpose is to check on the condition of the property, its systems, and how well the current tenants are conducting themselves. The aim of an interim inspections is to identify any issues early enough to prevent them from escalating.

2. Final Inspections

The final inspection of an HMO, or the check-out inspection, is conducted at the end of the tenant's lease and plays a crucial role in managing deposit deductions and reporting maintenance and repair needs before the next tenant changeover. It primarily focuses on assessing the property's condition compared to its state at the beginning of the lease, as documented in the inventory report.

During the final inspection, the landlord has to identify any damages or conditions caused by the tenant that necessitate repairs, replacements, or fines. These may include cleaning costs, outstanding rent, or any other expenses incurred due to breaches of the tenancy. While normal wear and tear are expected, it is the tenant's responsibility to pay for any damages.

In the end, both interim and final inspections are necessary to ensure the property is well maintained and any issues or conflicts are addressed timely and adequately.

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How do I conduct an inspection whilst tenants are occupying the property?

Conducting inspections whilst tenants are occupying the property can be a little tricky. You need to do the following:

  • Inform the tenant(s) Legally, you must give your tenants at least 24 hours written notice of an inspection. However, it's always good to arrange an agreeable time and place to build a positive landlord-tenant relationship.
  • Respect tenants' privacy – Be sure to limit your inspection to common areas and avoid inspecting rooms unless you have the tenant's permission or a valid reason to do so.

Are there any restrictions on HMO inspections?

While landlords have the right to inspect their properties, there are certain restrictions to be mindful of to ensure you don't land in hot water:

  • Always remember that the property is the tenant's home during the tenancy period. You must respect this and avoid any actions that may lead to harassment or illegal eviction claims.
  • Inspections must only be performed at reasonable times of the day and not too frequently to avoid causing disturbance or inconvenience to the tenants.

Student vs. professional HMOs

Inspections for student and professional HMOs largely follow similar principles, though it is worth noting that student HMOs may require more regular cleaning checks, as it's common that shared areas will be less tidy (sorry kids!). On the other hand, professional HMOs might require more checks related to damage if tenants are frequently home due to work from home provisions.


In conclusion, HMO inspections are an indispensable part of the landlord's role, with safety at their core. It's always best to build a positive relationship with tenants and communicate well in advance about any inspections.

This guide serves as a general recommendation but remember to comply with the specific laws and regulations in your local area.

If you're wanting to make sure you and your team are following a thorough and comprehensive inspection process, you can download our HMO 'Health Check' Inspection Template inside The Hive now.
This document will help guide you through the inspection process, listing everything you need to be checking during both your interim and final HMO inspections – join the Club today to download.