About

HMO Landlady fell into the world of letting houses out on a room by room basis back in 2007.  I’ve made lots of mistakes, unintentionally fallen foul of the law on the odd occasion, been taken for a complete ride by some tenants and wondered what the hell I was doing most the time!

I manage the ongoing needs of 35 tenants across 7 houses, am partner in a letting agency for single let properties, write for other websites and provide advice to fellow HMO landlords.  In addition, I’ve been given the remit by Landlord Law to organise and host their forthcoming legal workshops in the South and South East.  If you’d like to know more pleases visit the workshop information page or if you’d like to tell us your preferred course and location, please complete our survey

I began writing the site after realising many HMO landlords focus on yield and fail to see the realities of HMO ownership until too late and hope some of my experiences help them to find solutions to their own issues.

If considering letting your property as an HMO, feel free to ask me questions and I’ll do my best to help.  I can be contacted at hmolandlady@hotmail.co.uk

46 responses to “About

  1. Hi, just had a read. Great stuff. I have been managing my own HMO’s for the last 6 years, alongside caring for my 4 kids. At times I have felt I have 16 extra children. I go with my gut instinct and the only times it has let me down is when I’ve not listened to it. Like yourself, when the Tenants move on they stay in touch for advice and guidance for all areas of thier lives not just housing. It is so good to read something which many websites do not cover. Keep up the great work. Cheers, Sam.

    • Thank you so much for the support and you sound like you understand this market to a T! Maybe these tenants have unintentionally become extended family and I think that, as mothers, we make great landlords as we understand their need for a safe and warm room to rent. Just back from school run but I’d like to check out your website later. Once again, thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Ann

    Hi, I arrived here after following a link in a tweet from Ben Reeve-Lewis and just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, for content and writing style, it’s brilliant.

    I’m in the Lettings Industry and it is so nice to read about a landlady who genuinely carers about her tenants welfare.

    We manage a couple of HMOs and like you find that we are much more involved in the tenants lives. The less fortunate among them often need practical help or just the chance to talk about their problems. Things like the difficulties of starting a life in a new country, job interviews and messy divorces. Many times just by listening and offering alternative points of view or practical suggestions we’ve been able to help. The reward is seeing them achieve when they had almost given up hope and seeing them move on to the next stage of their lives better equipped than when we first met. Oh, and getting big hugs every time we meet for years afterwards!

    By the way, we find it’s usually men who need the most help. I wonder if that’s your experience too?

    I wish more of our landlords were like you!

    • Hi Ann
      Thank you so much for your very kind comments. You’re absolutely right in that it’s the men that need the proverbial shoulder to cry on but then I think that so much is expected of them and, when their life does take an unexpected turn, living in a room can be depressing. Perhaps between us we can change the face of landlording as I find many landlords only have their eye on the bottom line. Hopefully, with more and more rogue/crappy landlords entering the fray the market will sort itself out and tenants will have the opportunity and knowledge to learn how to pick out the good ones, stay for a long term and then everyone’s happy! I apologise for the delay in replying but have been away – another post to arrive very soon!

  3. Sam

    Great blog! Have just voted for you 🙂 Good luck my dear – love your stories. Thanks for sharing!

    sam aka WhatSamSawToday

  4. Hi what a brilliant blog, came across from Property Tribes. I have a number of 2/3 bed properties let to families which I self manage as well as running a dog walking business and of course, mustn’t forget my teenage son!! I have always thought about running a hmo as have also let rooms in my main house for a number of years. Do you feel with the age increasing from 25 to 35 for the lha room rate this will create an increased need for rooms. I am wondering about converting one of my 3 beds- do your hmos also have large kitchens/lounges? Sorry have lots of questions so hope you are patient!

    • Hi Jane. Thank you for your kind comments and for reading. In answer to your questions, HMOs have never been more in demand especially with the increase in age limit to claim LHA for self contained accommodation. I don’t have communal lounges but do try to put a table in the kitchen for socialising. I’ve written a Practical Guide To Managing An HMO which is in it’s final draft and should be available next week. It covers how I run the houses from pricing, bills, furnishings and what to do when things don’t quite go to plan!

      Feel free to ask me any more questions and I’m more than happy to help out.

      HMO Landlady

  5. Hi wondered what you thought about a “rent to rent” using as a two storey 4 bed let. Been discussed on Property Tribes and a concept I am interested in. Struggling a bit though on the point of a landlord agreeing to this. Would generate more income than a single family let- views?

    • Hi Jane. You’re right in that it would generate more income but it depends if the landlord can be bothered with the “hassle” of dealing with 4/5 individuals rather than one family. Many landlords find renting to a long term, secure family less time consuming than individuals on short term contracts.

      HMO Landlady

  6. Sam K

    Hello HMO Landlady,

    I’m working on a documentary series for the BBC about landlords; I’ve been enjoying your fascinating blog and wondered if we could have a chat? If you could get in touch through skingsley@blastfilms.co.uk I can send you more information.

    Thanks!
    Sam

  7. Andy

    Hi,

    I have looked on your site but can not find any contact information. I work for a company named Coastline Removals and write and design home and lifestyle related material. I have just finished putting together the following infographic on the top reasons why people move house in the UK – thought you and your readers might enjoy. If you are interested or have any questions please email me at coastlineremovals@hotmail.co.uk

    Kind Regards,

    Andy

  8. Andy

    Sorry just realised that in my message I put ‘I have just finished putting together the FOLLOWING infographic’ – I did attach a link to my infographic but decided to take it out as I thought that if you would like to display the infographic you will send me a message to my email.

    Andy

  9. Hi HMO Landlady
    Can you tell me where I can subscribe to your blog via rss feed please?
    I have just started a blog about our property development experiences and am so pleased that there is someone else like me out there!!

    http://buildingwithsomethingmore.blogspot.co.uk/

    Kind regards and love your blog!

    Wendy

    • Hi Wendy

      I’m really sorry but I’m technically daft and don’t know about the RSS Feed. I do know that, if you subscribe to the blog, a notification of a new post appears in your inbox.

      By the way, I’ve read your blog and I’m always looking at what other people are up to so I’ll start to follow you.

      Thank you for reading and I’ve definitely heard of Wacky Warehouse!

  10. Carola

    HI there,
    After months of racking my brain what to do with my bungalow I came across your website. I have a bungalow and have ‘inherited a daughter’s boyfriend and somebody from work, who live in the bungalow. I had to move in with partner due to his ill health. The more I read the more I get confused! What is the best, cheap, legal way to let 2 bedrooms to those 2 people, without me being there and without it costing me an arm and a leg just to let them live there cheaply?!
    Carol

    • Hi Carol

      Technically you don’t have an HMO as you have less than 3 unrelated people (phew!). You can simply issue each tenant with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement calling one room Room 1 and the other Room 2. If you’ve never done this before, I urge you to join either http://www.landlordlaw.co.uk or the National Landlords Association at http://www.landlords.org.uk. They have a wealth of information, real people to talk to and you only pay a fee once a year and get to use all their forms, services and information.

      I stress that it’s very important you go into this with your head above the legal water so to speak rather than bobbing around under it as it can get really confusing. Decide if you’re going to include bills or if the tenants will split them between themselves, you must advise your buildings insurance provider and you must take reasonable fire and gas safety steps e.g. smoke alarms, gas safety inspection on appliances and the boiler, PAT test on electrical items you provide such as kettle, toaster, iron, washing machine, etc. Let me know if I can be of any further help.

  11. Geoff

    Wendy,
    I own and manage a lot of HMOs and think that you are enormously brave to take on HMO management. Which part of the country do you operate in ? I just have this dreadful feeling that your kindness and sympathy would be taken advantage of by a percentage of inmates that occupy HMOs. Tenants need to be given a very clear framework to work in. If they overstep the mark then they need to be aware of the consequences. Paying rent is NOT optional.

    • Hi Geoff. You’re right that paying rent isn’t an option but a necessity and the bizarre thing is 90% of them are up to date – first Christmas in years! I have 25 rooms in Eastbourne and am at a management level now which means that I can anticipate most issues and have enough experience and humour not to worry about them so much! Happy Christmas!

  12. DEAR SERENA –MET YOU ON SEAFRONT WHILST WALKING POPPY.

    LOVE YOUR SITE –WHAT COURAGE DEALING WITH ALL THESE

    PROBLEMS IN A WAY THAT ALL FRONTLINE SERVICES SHOULD

    DEAL — REQUIRING POSITIVE EVIDENCE ON BEHALF OF THOSE

    SEEKING HELP OF THEIR REAL INTENTIONS — LOOKED FOR THE

    BEAUTIFUL AUBURN HAIR RECENTLY BUT HAVE NOT SEEN

    YOU. KINDEST REGARDS

    TONY PARKER.

    • Hi Tony. How lovely to hear from you and thanks for remembering me! I’ve since been “running” on the seafront in an effort to get fit – I’m delighted to report that the dog is having trouble keeping up even though it’s a steady trot of 1mph. Thank you for reading and I hope you’re well.

  13. Jon

    Fantastic blog, keep up the good work. One thing I can’t fathom… the balance between the problem tenants and the reasonable tenants, surely it can’t all be alcohol and offending? There must be a portion of tenants who get on with it quietly? How would you characterise the split?? 90 – 10? 80-20? 50-50?

    I’m flirting with the idea of a HMO, but I’m just not sure I’d be able to have the level of involvement you’ve shown!

    • Hi Jon

      First, thanks for reading. The tenants I mainly blog about are the ones left over from my “formative years” whilst I was learning how to be a landlord. They’ve been with me for a while and I figure it’s better the devil you know and they only take up around 20% of my time.

      I’ve learnt how to spot good tenants now and am pleased to report that the 10 I’ve put into 2 HMOs for another landlord have, so far, been normal and reasonable. It’s probably fair to say that I occasionally go out looking for trouble and will take a punt on someone when things are quiet – after all, who would I have to write about?!

      Do seriously consider HMOs as, if you do them well, they are a great yield. My book (click the link on the home page) will give you lots of information on how to set up from scratch and I’ve just finished reading House Share Hero which talks about tips on tenant choosing, financing, etc. which I also recommend.

      If you have any questions at all, do come back to me and I’m very happy to help.

      • Jon

        Thanks yes, I’ve had heaps of experience with standard AST style landlording, and the yield rarely (if ever) breaks 10%
        I’ve run the numbers on a 5 person HMO in Liverpool, using LHA allowances as a guide. Seems like if I buy well I can expect 15% which would be a-m-a-z-i-n-g… but the issues have sort of put me off, so I’m going to build a portfolio there first (regular AST’s) and when the opportunity arises I’ll jump in. Having first read your book cover to cover. Twice.

  14. Pingback: PrimeLocation.com blog awards – and the winners are… | PrimeLocation Blog

  15. Congratulations on your Primelocation award!

  16. Really fantastic blog HMO -keep up the good work! I’m a professional HMO’s landlord with properties which we own and let and we also work with many others in our area. Despite the increasing problems (HMO Management Regs, Money etc) I still love it. Most of ours are student homes and we find the students themselves to great tenants – provided you keep up a good relationship with them. They are just kids away from home for the first time having a great time. They keep me young! (ps I’m not… young) .

  17. Hi Serena,

    My name is Sam, I work for a company called Lettingweb in Edinburgh. We love your blog and would absolutely love to collaborate or work with you on future articles and other content.

    If this sounds like something you’d be interested please get back to me.

    samuel@lettingweb.com

    Kind regards,
    Sam

  18. Hi,

    I am contacting you in regards to your blog. I was wondering if it would be possible for Keytek to send over a few ideas for a guest blog. If this of interest please can you email me on rose.humphries@keytek.co.uk

    Keytek have previously written guest blogs based on the fact that three quarters of Britain’s do not change the locks after moving home which has proven to be popular on various social media platforms especially Twitter!

    Keytek is one of the largest national locksmiths in the UK. The company also operates a Locksmith Training Academy, which is the only trainer able to provide a NCFE Level 4 accreditation. You can find out more about Keytek by visiting http://www.keytek.co.uk/

    Kind regards,

    Rose

    • Hi Rose

      Thank you for contacting me and reading the blog. Unfortunately, I don’t accept guest blogs. Have you contact Property 118 as I understand they are interested in good articles? Your idea would be right up their street.

  19. Darren

    Loving your blog and resonated perfectly as I am about to become an HMO landlord in Eastbourne. Wondered if I could buy you a coffee and get a little personal advice seeing as we are local?

  20. Matthew Kellie

    Hello. I let out my house to a private tenant and they turned it in to an ilegal and very badly run HMO. However they’re making double what they pay me, so now I want to run it myself as an HMO (but obviously legally, properly and fairly).

    My lender has given me permission to let on my residential mortgage but HMOs are not allowed! Will I get in trouble if I don’t tell them?

    Also could you advise re the type of agreement I should have with tenants? Individual ASTs or House Share Agreements?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Matthew. I can’t comment on how your mortgage company will view this. You can do a House Share Agreement depending on how frequently your tenants change, however, individual ASTs are much easier to implement from an admin and eviction point of view.

      • s.ali

        hi my name is ali ijust wanted to know how you manage last months rent as all my tenants use deposit to pay for last rent

      • Hi. I return a deposit when the the tenant gives me the keys. It gives them a good incentive not to spill anything on the carpet and to clean the room before leaving. Any deductions are discussed in advance and I return 90% of deposits in full .

  21. Hi

    Sorry for use of a comment to send this message – hope it reaches you. I am hoping I might be able to interview you over the phone. I am leading som research work for an organisation called Future Climate , working with University of Manchester, into energy use and energy efficiency in HMOs (basically, how do tenants and landlords split bills, what is the attitude of tenants and landlords to using and saving energy and making energy saving improvements).

    It would be very interesting to speak to you, given your experience as an HMO landlord and a high profile person in the sector – it’s always hard to reach real landlords for this sort of this work!

    If this is a possiblity perhaps you could email me; I’ll also give you a qucik call.

    Thank you

    David Weatherall
    Director
    Future Climate

  22. Manier khan

    Hi
    Just setting up HMO need some advise to set up a 7 bed or 6 bed.
    Is planning required for a 7 bed ?
    Thanks

    • Hello. You’ll need to check with your local council who will also advise on fire regulations. Each local authority differs in their requirements but it sounds as though you will need to licence it too. You can get a copy of your council’s HMO guidelines from their website.

  23. steve

    Are Bungalows suitable for HMO’s?.. Great website by the way!.. Does anyone have experience of how easily bungalows rent out as unlicensed HMO’s…potentially found a 5 bed one..but wondering if slower to let due to many people not wanting to sleep on the ground floor for security reasons etc?

    • Hi Steve. Providing the bungalow is in the right location I can’t see why it wouldn’t work as an HMO. With 5 bedrooms it sounds huge! The only thing I would say is they are often on big plots so you will need to factor in garden maintenance.

  24. Hi There, have you found it difficult to get landlord insurance for HMOs? It’s not the easiest but you will need it if you have a mortgage on the property or cannot afford to self insure (most people then).

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