The Housing Act 2004 defines basic amenities as being the W.C. the bathroom and the kitchen facilities.

Bathroom

In assessing the suitability of bathroom and toilet facilities, consideration will be given to various hazards including Hazard 17 – Personal Hygiene, Sanitation and Drainage.

All baths and wash hand basins must be equipped with taps providing an adequate supply of potable cold water and a constant supply of hot water and be properly connected to the drainage system.

All bathrooms must be situated in a proper room, must be suitably and adequately heated and ventilated (see Ventilation guidance notes on page 10) and must be of an adequate size and layout.

Adequate electric lighting, that is appropriately Index Protection (IP) rated in accordance with IEE regulations, must be provided and walls and floors must have a non-porous and easily-cleanable finish.

Suitable locking mechanisms must be fitted to the access doors of bathrooms and W/Cs to ensure privacy.

Where a bathroom is in a house likely to be occupied by children five years of age or under, the facilities must include a bath.

W/Cs

Toilet compartments must be located within 30 metres of the furthest occupancy using it, preferably on the same floor. Where this is not possible, the WC should be no more than one floor and no more than 30m distance from the users.

The room should be provided with adequate ventilation (see Ventilation guidance notes on page 10) and electric lighting and a suitable locking mechanism must be fitted to the access door to ensure privacy.

All foul waste within the building must be adequately connected to the drainage system, with provision of rodding eye and inspection chamber.

A separate w/c must contain:

  • A fixed w/c with water supply to the cistern, and foul drainage to the external foul drainage system.
  • A fixed wash hand basin with constant hot and cold running water, properly connected to the drainage system.

In bedsit type accommodation or shared houses, the bathroom and W.C. facilities may be shared between the occupants. There must be an adequate number of bathrooms and W.C.s provided for the number of persons occupying the dwelling. The table below shows the permitted sharing ratios.

Wash hand basins

A wash hand basin (WHB) with a tiled splash back and satisfactory supply of cold and constant hot water properly connected to the drainage system must be situated in a bathroom or shower room containing a w/c.

A wash hand basin as described above must also be provided in a separate w/c compartment.

Kitchen Facilities

If meals are provided for 4 or more residents you are required to register with environmental health service’s commercial unit. You can download the registration form from here or phone 233 3000 or FAX 225 6039 and request one. In assessing the provision of kitchen facilities and associated refuse storage, the council must have regard to the presence of any health and safety hazards.

Shared Facilities Where shared kitchens are provided they must contain the following facilities:

For up to 5 persons:

  • A suitable fixed worktop, not including the draining board, no less than 2m by 0.6m
  • Four cooking rings, oven and grill (whether integrated into one appliance or separates).
  • Four twin 13amp power socket outlets above the work surface height in addition to any sockets serving major electrical appliances. They must be adjacent to the work surface and at a suitable safe distance of minimum 1 metre, from any sink/wash basin.
  • A standard 1m sink unit and integral draining board fixed within a base unit, together with an adequate supply of constant hot water and wholesome cold drinking water, and tiled splash back. The sink unit must be properly plumbed into the water supply and drainage systems.  A suitable storage cupboard with a minimum capacity equivalent to a 500mm wall unit per person.
  • A refrigerator of not less than 5 cu ft capacity (0.15m³).

Kitchens should not normally be shared by more than 5 persons. The kitchen or kitchen area should have a total floor area not less than 7m² (measured wall to wall), and should be not less than 1.8m across at the narrowest point.

However, if a kitchen is to be shared by more than five persons, an additional 1.0 m2 of floor space for each additional person will be required, up to a maximum of ten persons, (i.e. 10m² is deemed adequate for 8-10 persons) and an adjacent dining area of suitable size must be provided.

Where the minimum kitchen size described above for 6-10 persons is not practicable, additional kitchens must be provided, in the following ratio:

  • 6 – 10 persons 2 kitchens
  • 11 – 15 persons 3 kitchens

Additional facilities for 6-10 persons sharing a single kitchen must include the following:

  • A suitable fixed worktop, not including the draining board, of no less than 3m by 0.6m, instead of the 2m worktop for a single set of kitchen facilities.
  • Fridge/freezer to approximately 9 cu ft capacity 0.27m3, instead of 5 cu ft as above.

No kitchen must have more than two sets of facilities or be used by more than ten persons. Additional food storage, cooking facilities, sink/drainers or alternative arrangements should be agreed with the council prior to installation.

Consideration may be given to the provision of a dishwasher in place of one of the additional sinks/drainers.

Shared kitchens should ideally be sited no more than 30 metres distant from any letting using it, and on the same floor. Where this is not possible, a kitchen no more than one floor distant from any letting using it and with an adequately-sized adjacent dining area may suffice.

Where more than one kitchen is provided, these should normally be on separate floors. All kitchens must have a suitable layout which is safe and practical, taking account of the location of cooking appliances and food preparation areas to reduce the risk of health and safety hazards. In particular:-

  • Cooking appliances should, wherever practicable, have an adjacent work surface;
  • No soft furnishings are to be within 600 mm of the cooking appliance;
  • Other than an extractor hood, no fixtures or fittings are to be sited directly above cooking appliances.
  • Collision and entrapment hazards, particularly risks associated with hot surfaces.

Individual Facilities

In bedsit type accommodation where the units of accommodation have their own kitchen facilities or in self-contained flats, each unit of accommodation must contain the following:

  • A suitably sized sink and drainer provided with a supply of wholesome cold drinking water and constant hot water, properly connected to the drainage system.
  • A cooker with two cooking rings, oven and grill (four ring cooker with two persons sharing).
  • A twin 13amp power socket outlet in addition to any sockets serving major electrical appliances. The must be adjacent to the work surface and at a suitable safe distance minimum 1metre from any sink/wash basin.
  • A suitable worktop, not including the draining board, no less than 1m by 0.6m.
  • A storage cupboard which must be suitable and of a minimum capacity equivalent to a 500mm wide wall unit per person.
  • A refrigerator of not less than 5 cu ft capacity (0.15m³). The kitchen facilities should be situated in a distinct ‗kitchen area‘ and this area should, where practicable, be located as far from the exit door as possible. Where it is not practicable for the cooking appliance to be located remotely from the door, a fire-resisting screen of suitable height should be constructed to shield the door from flames in the event of a fire occurring in the kitchen area.

Bin Storage

In order to prevent pest infestations or the contamination of food or food preparation areas there should be suitable and sufficient provision for the storage of household waste prior to removal to refuse storage area (see our Refuse Storage & Disposal FAQ here)