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  • Technology

    Self-managing HMOs - issues and tips

    Welcome to Day 4 of "Self Managing Landlords" Week 2017 - powered by Upad.

    All this week, Upad are providing exclusive content to assist and support the self-managing landlord.

    Running order for the week:

    Day 1 - Should you self-manage your BTL properties?

    Day 2 - Undertaking viewings 

    Day 3 - Common tenancy issues and how to deal with them

    Day 5 -  Setting up a tenancy - Legal Guide

    Today, Upad look at this issues if you choose to self-manage an HMO.

    If you own an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation), you can opt to manage the property yourself. Here’s a quick guide if you’re considering it.

    1. Fit and proper person

    To self-manage a licensed HMO, you must be deemed a ‘fit and proper person’ with adequate property management plans in place.

    This essentially means that you cannot have been involved with any fraud, dishonesty, violence or drugs, unlawfully discriminated or have broken and Landlord and Tenant or Housing Law.

    Applications are considered on an individual basis though, so a declared conviction would not automatically exclude someone. If your HMO does not need to be licensed, and there is no selective licensing in the area, you do not need to pass the fit and proper person test.

    2.  Additional responsibilities

    As an HMO landlord, you are most likely going to be dealing with more tenants in your property than a residential let.

    As such, there are extra responsibilities (along with existing legal duties) to ensure the safe management of the property.

    This includes fire safety, which is a higher risk with more occupants, and you must ensure there are adequate means for escape in the event of a fire. You may also need to provide a fire extinguisher depending on the size of your HMO.

    Smoke and CO alarms are now required in all residential lets but with an HMO, it’s important that you make sure there are enough smoke alarms (for each habitable floor of the property) and that all occupants would be able to hear them in the event of a fire.

    You’ll also need to ensure that there is adequate supplies for waste collection, particularly if there are lots of people in the property.

    3.  Common HMO issues

    For an HMO landlord, the potentially higher turnover (especially on individual room lets) can cause issues. It leaves you open to experiencing void periods more often, so stay on the ball when it comes to a tenant leaving and re-advertising.

    Another issue you may encounter is disputes between the tenants. With HMO’s, the tenants may not know each other before moving in and as such there’s more chance for tensions to run high and personalities to clash!

    Try not to get too involved with any disputes, you are running a business not being a referee!

    If it gets to the stage where a tenant wants to leave early because of a dispute, you may find it more worthwhile to be flexible rather than forcing an unhappy household.

    4. Spec-ing up an HMO and getting it ready for rent

    The "young professionals" HMO market can be lucrative, but it is competitive and standards have definitely risen in recent years.

    HMO landlords need to create a high quality and legally compliant product that appeals to young professionals, photographs well, and serves the tenant's lifestyle.  This should include good quality kitchens, furniture, storage, and of course, fast broadband.  Some landlords include extras like BBQs and bike sheds.

    You will also need to supply adequate laundry facilities and many landlords supply two washing machines to ensure that tenants can do their washing easily.

    5.  Running an HMO

    Running an HMO can be more time consuming than a residential let, particularly if you have a high turnover of tenants on room only lets.

    Landlords are responsible for cleaning any communal areas and sending a cleaner in a couple of times a month is prudent, as the cleaner can report any issues at the property such as maintenance issues, strangers at the property etc. - they can be your eyes and ears to flag up potential problems.

    If you have a full time job and aren’t able to make regular visits for viewings, inspections or to carry out repairs, HMO self-management might not be for you. 

    See - HMO vs. single let

    Are you an HMO landlord? Do you find the additional responsibilities more difficult to manage?

    We invite you to tune in to Property Tribes every day this week for this exclusive content and event, powered by Upad.  Watch out for videos, case studies, and much more!

    Upad offer room advertising on Rightmove and Zoopla for just £60 https://www.upad.co.uk/room-listing 

    VISIT THE UPAD WEBSITE or call the team on 0333 240 1220 to find out more about how they support self-managing landlords.

    Content so far:

    Day 1 - Should you self-manage your BTL properties?

    Day 2 - Undertaking viewings 

    Day 3 - Common tenancy issues and how to deal with them

    *Transparency notice: Upad is a commercial partner of Property Tribes.

    Upad has the following professional memberships and credentials:

    SEE ALSO  -           6 tips to create community and harmonious households in shared accommodation

    UP NEXT -               Tips for avoiding voids in HMOs

    DON'T MISS -          HMO Week 2017 with Platinum Property Partners



    Thanks V, interesting article. One question though, you say "Smoke and CO alarms are now required in all residential lets" but I thought the introduction of compulsory CO alarms didn't go through?