§ Mr. Beggs
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will introduce legislation to require the owners or agents responsible for letting a house or property for multiple occupancy to register the property with the local authority and obtain approval for multiple occupancy or group tenancy before letting out the property;. 
(2) if he will introduce legislation to require that all existing properties leased for multiple occupancy or group tenancy provide adequate safeguards to ensure the safety of occupants as deemed necessary by an expert on fire risk. 
§ Mr. Moss
The housing policy review consultative document "Building on Success", a copy of which is in the Library, confirms that consideration is being given as to how best to bring about improvement in the safety and quality of houses in multiple occupancy in Northern Ireland. When the consultation process is complete, final decisions will then be taken on further legislative provision in this sector.
§ Mr. Moss
This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Under the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1992, the Housing Executive has a responsibility to inspect standards of accommodation and fire safety in646W houses in multiple occupation. The chief executive of the Housing Executive has advised me that it maintains a register of HMOs. If on inspection a property does not meet appropriate standards, including adequate fire safety arrangements, the executive is empowered to require the landlord to ensure that (i) the number of persons occupying the premises is appropriate for the facilities (ii) the premises are made fit and (iii) have adequate fire safety arrangements. As required by legislation, the Northern Ireland Fire Authority is consulted about the adequacy of means of escape from fire. The Housing Executive is also the authority to close all or part of the premises if the conditions are not met.