It’s HMO Licence Renewal Time!

How the 5 years have flown since the first HMO inspectorate spent hours poking around the rooms, pulling me up on the lack of a banister for two outside steps and writing secret messages on their clipboards.  Since then, the house has experienced over thirty tenants moving in and out, a hostage situation, several drunken fights and more police visits than a brothel.

Being the responsible, on the ball kind of landlord I am, I thought I’d make sure the fire alarm checks were up to date.  Manual in hand, dogged determination that I can finally conquer the grey box on the wall that seems to hate me, I set aside a morning to get to grips with the b****y thing.

Inserting the key into the call point, I duly set off the alarm, couldn’t stop it with the code, put the code in again, alarm brought the entire street out to see what was happening so I resorted to the age old method of punching the alarm code even harder plus several other numbers for good effect.  No joy, so I called the engineer whose exact words were “You’ve been near that alarm again.  I told you before, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED NEAR THE ALARM!  I’ll be over in a minute”.

He turned up, laughed loudly and said “I do the fire alarm inspection, that’s what you pay me for.   I said last time you called me out not to touch it”  Oh.  That said, after half an hour of driving everyone mad, he silenced the alarm and spent another ten minutes trying to unravel the set of codes I’d put in which had sent the whole thing into such a spin.

Thanks to the wonders of CCTV, here’s some video footage of me creating the situation then trying to sort it out, aided unhelpfully by Tom and finally flinging the manual on the floor before calling the engineer.  What you can’t hear (luckily) is the swearing and the incessant noise of the siren, but there is a little cuddle from Tom trying to appease me.

I now await my inspection, the council have set the renewal fee rate at a reasonable £567 and, providing they don’t get put off by the peeling paint on the outside, I hope the house passes with flying colours!  (The paint’s peeling due to the terrible weather, not because of neglect!)

12 Comments

Filed under Management of an HMO, Uncategorized

12 responses to “It’s HMO Licence Renewal Time!

  1. Kim stones

    Funny

    Kim stones

  2. Hi

    Great blog!

    I’ve just tweeted this story onto @HMOLandlords twitter account. Please do let us know of any further blog posts that we can share with the HMO community by emailing phil@comfortlettings with a link.

    Thanks
    Phil Ashford

    • No problem Phil and thanks for the compliment! It’s possible to subscribe to the blog on the button to the right of the page and I’ve just checked that I’m following @HMOLandlords on Twitter!

  3. Karl

    It’s amazing that you give advice on how to run a hmo, yet you are not coplying to the relevant guidance (BS5839-1). It’s clear to see that you never do a weekly test of your callpoints.

    • You’re absolutely right, Karl. However, when I checked with the maintenance engineer he was happy with the tests that I have been doing and this was an incident that I felt lent itself to a blog. My tenants are very safe and the system IS tested on a regular basis.

      • Karl

        Unfortunately, it’s neither me, nor your suppossed “maintenance engineer” (an engineer giving you that advice shouldn’t be an engineer) that you have to keep happy. It’s the courts that will ultimately make the decision as to whether it meets the requirements of the rro.

  4. Out of interest, who does your weekly required fire alarm test?

  5. PS I’d be interested to see your whole HMO License overheads – ie the amount that you need to recover from the rent to cover the charge, your time, and form filling.

    I’m doing 2 currently in purpose built student houses (ie no ‘suitability’ issues), and I make it about £800 fee plus £200 to pay the LA to do the form plus £250-500 for a day or two of my own time.

    So around £1200-1500 per house, or £25 per month on the rent.

    • Thanks for your comments, Matt. The licence fee is around £750 and I don’t factor the cost of my time but consider it cost of running the business. The rooms are priced according to size, market demand and running costs including mortgage. I don’t earn a living from the HMOs as any profit tends to get ploughed back into the property portfolio to keep on top of maintenance.

      How did you price your time?

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