Room-specific Edinburgh HMO requirements

Room-specific Edinburgh HMO requirements

New, more detailed HMO inspection reports

In late 2019 the Edinburgh Council inspectors started using new electronic inspection forms, containing 10 to 36 fields per room. Hallway has 10 items, bedrooms 26 items, kitchen 36 items, so the new inspection regime is, in our opinion, more thorough than the previous system as it is less prone to human mistakes and items being overlooked. The new inspections records show what the HMO inspectors are looking for, besides the obvious fire safety; compliance certificates and good general standards.

What are room-specific HMO requirements?

Please bear in mind that we picked only some requirements, the ones that seemed most interesting, as this post does not cover fire safety related issues. It is not an all-inclusive list of HMO checks. To have a broader overview of HMO requirements and the licencing process, please contact the Edinburgh Council Licencing Team directly.


At least 4 electric sockets. Carpeted. Sufficient ventilation.


Seals bonded to surfaces and mould free. Walls and ceilings mould and condensation free. IP rated (water resistant) lights. All windows openable while standing on floor. Cushioned vinyl flooring.

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Living room

At least 6 sockets. Carpeted.


Width and length measured, total area calculated. Minimum bedroom width is 2.25m. At least 6 sockets. If boiler present – sealed type. Carpeted.


Following appliances checked and their number recorded: sinks, dishwashers, food storage cabinets, worktops’ length, grills, ovens, hobs, microwaves, fridges, freezers .At least 1m of activity space in front of oven. At least 300mm of workspace at either side of the hob. Clear and readable controls on hobs and ovens. Sink seals water tight and free from mould. At least 2m of worktops for 3 people and 0.6m for each additional person. At least 6 sockets. At least 1 sink with an integral drainer per 5 tenants. Adequate storage/drawer space – 1m³ for 5 tenants and then 0.2m per each additional person. Suitable ventilation. Cushioned vinyl flooring.


Suitable ventilation. Cushioned vinyl flooring Seals bonded to surfaces and mould free. Walls and ceilings mould and condensation free. IP rated (water resistant) lights. All windows openable while standing on floor.

Post-HMO inspection to do lists

The drawback for the landlords, letting agents and investors is: the previous inspections reports contained a list of tasks to do, which was very easy to follow. The landlords had to implement all recommendations and did not need to delve into details of the inspections. Now, all items in each room have ‘Outcome’ and ‘Notes’ fields, so the whole inspection report needs to be studied, even if nearly all ‘Outcome’ fields are Satisfactory and do not require further actions. It is not as easy to follow as the previous to do list.

Hardwired fire and smoke alarms

Did you know that although ‘regular’ rental flats in Scotland can be supplied with sealed battery and interlinked smoke/heat alarms, this exemption does not apply to HMO properties – HMO inspectors will be looking for hard wired, interlinked detectors with a battery backup.