What Makes An HMO Successful?

Regular readers may have noted that I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks which has been due to a some unexpected personal issues. Life as a landlord has taught me how to bat problems back into the field or catch them and deal with them!

The tenants, thankfully, have been silent during this period. No after dark, panic stricken calls, no elaborate stories of mislaid rent and no locking themselves out of rooms! Perhaps the five year long battle of getting tenants from different backgrounds to live together harmoniously has finally paid off. I’d like to think that my Super Nanny approach to rules of behaviour has been the overriding factor but have actually put the new found harmony down to low turnover of rooms, acceptability of each tenant’s quirks and the fact that I haven’t got round to putting anyone’s rent up.

There’s been lots of investor interest in HMOs due to their high yield and you’ll find no end of property pundits bragging about how much money they make doing this kind of rental. But now I’ve pulled myself back to reality and started to think about what makes a successful HMO house and, on the usual rent run this morning, asked the tenants their opinion. Here are all of our findings:

1. Leave each other alone and mind your own business

2. Respect for privacy and quiet

3. Adhere to the Rules of the House

4. Ability to sort own problems out and not take them out on house mates

5. Keep anti-social behaviour away from the house

6. When in the kitchen, make a cuppa for each other.

Real progress was made a couple of weeks ago: Simon got into a drunken argument with a friend whilst in a pub. The friend went back to the house and, rather than ring the front door bell to fetch his jacket which he’d left behind, terrified everyone by throwing a plant pot through the kitchen window. Normally the tenants would have phoned me within 30 seconds of the incident, panicking, but instead they regrouped, called the police, made a temporary repair and managed not to bother me until the next morning. They’ve finally learned to live together and I was even more delighted when Betti from Hungary told me she’d turned down a job in another town as she was so happy “in her home”! On top of that, Simon is profusely apologetic about the incident and is paying me back in instalments as the CSA (Child Support Allowance) have finally caught up with him and are now taking payments for his various children directly from his salary.


Filed under Future of HMOs, Management of an HMO, Uncategorized

4 responses to “What Makes An HMO Successful?

  1. Ben reeve-Lewis

    Now that’s a brilliant idea, get the house mates to set their own rules that work for them, that way they have a sense of ownership of their home, any breaches are self-regulating and you don’t have to be the enforcer they look to solve their problems for them.

    Sometimes the simple solutions are the most effective.

    I used to run a 6 day long communication skills course to help jobless people into work (we had a 70% success rate and even 6 months down the line that 70% were still there) and the afternoon of the first day was getting the group of about 30 to come up with their own guidelines/rules, things like mobile phones silent or off?, time keeping etc. When they breached we never enforced, just pointed out and let a debate follow that the trainers just facilitated. You had middle aged people looking to get back into work in the same group as 16 year olds who’d been constantly excluded from school, which often caused culture clashes but they learnt from each other over time.

    So many HMO Landlords I meet complain of the actions of their tenants and how unruly they can be, if they spent a little time working with their tenants in this way I’ll bet incidents could be reduced.

  2. Pingback: Keeping Your HMO Looking Lovely Part 2 | A Practical Guide to Managing a House of Multiple Occupation

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