Landlords with HMO’s

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Houses in Multiple Occupation is the long name – a specific type of rental property where the facility areas (Kitchen, Bathrooms) are shared by all the separate households (to make sure it is termed correctly, a household can be a single person, a couple or a family).

HMO’s are or can be an attractive proposition for any Landlord on paper. Although set up costs can be fairly high this can be recovered a lot quicker than on a residential let, and depending on the size of the property you can make 2,3 or even more times the amount of money that you would as a standard rental property.

However, if there were no downsides then everybody would be doing it! There are several things that make it less of an attractive proposal, the biggest would be the legal requirements that you would need to adhere to, to be able to open your own HMO. This is very much Council specific at present, although there are big things going through government scrutiny right now that will set a mandatory standard for all HMO’s.

Secondly the time and effort you need to put into the running, upkeep and safety in your HMO can be extremely excessive compared to a single let. Remember, a six bed HMO will need six tenants, so you have the possibility of 6 times the stress, 6 times the voids, 6 times the re-let fees, etc etc.

However, if you can find 6 people that can live in harmony with each other then you could be on to a winner!

So how and where do you start? Well, the first thing you need to do is find the right property. Large rooms are most desirable along with ideally more than one bathroom, and a good-sized kitchen!

A lot of people do look to re-configure a property into a more profitable size for an HMO, but make sure that the rooms do conform to the minimum rooms sizes needed.


Without a doubt THE MOST IMPORTANT thing is location, location location! You need to be fairly central with great access to most public transport and local amenities. People will be more attracted to this type of let if it is in the right location.


The rooms need to be decorated to a good standard and wherever possible look for rooms with en-suites and/or a small kitchen space, as this can increase how much you can ask for on a HMO let. You could also look at a decent broadband service and maybe a kitchen with some good appliances to increase the desirability of the house in general.


Once you have your property in mind and have done your homework on location, property costing etc, the next step would be to contact the local council in the area and look into what will be required to open an HMO.

There are numerous things to consider such as fire alarms and regulations, health and safety requirements, emergency lighting as well as mandatory notices that need to be placed inside the property.

You will also need to adhere to the council specific regulations that some councils have in relation to HMO’s. This could be a license fee or various considerations based on the area or size of the property.


The GOV.UK website has a good amount of information on this subject and I would recommend doing some homework on what you will need to be doing before you even consider thinking about going into the sector:


HMO’s can be a very profitable exercise, or they can be a nightmare! The work you do beforehand, the property you choose, what you give to your tenants, and most importantly what tenants you choose will determine what outcome you get.

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