Things You Should Know Before Managing an HMO Property

But you may not know exactly what is involved in managing an HMO on your own. 

This article gives you tips on what you need to know about managing an HMO.

Tip 1: HMO Licensing

A critical legal aspect of letting an HMO is getting the relevant licence. If you’re letting an HMO, it’s highly likely you’ll need some sort of licence to ensure that the property:

  • is safe for tenants to live in
  • is in good condition
  • has an adequate number of smoke detectors
  • has appropriate fire exits
  • has enough sinks, cookers, baths and toilets for the number of tenants
  • is well managed

To check if your property needs to be licenced, you can contact your local Council. Or speak to us about our HMO Licensing service, which includes applying for the local Council’s property licensing scheme on your behalf.

Tip 2: Safety Compliance

There are various compliance measures you’ll need to meet to let an HMO. This includes:

  • getting an annual gas safety certificate
  • installing the required number of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors 
  • getting safety certificates for electrical appliances
  • keeping exits clear from obstructions and marking fire exits clearly
  • providing emergency lighting for fire safety

Tip 3: Minimum Room Size Requirements

Make sure your HMO property complies with the minimum HMO room sizes:

  • No room less than 4.64 square metres can be used as sleeping accommodation. This size can only be used by one person aged under ten years 
  • A room size of 6.51 square metres minimum, can only be used by one person aged over ten years
  • A room size of 10.22 square metres minimum, can only be used by two persons aged over ten years

Tip 4: Choose the Right HMO Tenants

This is the most critical part of owning an HMO… having the right tenant. Firstly, you want to choose the type of tenant you want – students, young professionals, foreign workers, short-term rentals, etc.

Next, you will need to advertise in the right locations to attract the right type of tenant.

And then you will need to interview and screen the tenants. Although it takes time, don’t skip doing the referee calls and background checks on your tenants. It is crucial to have the right people in your investment.

Tip 5: Don’t Mix Tenant Types

If you have decided your HMO will appeal to students, then don’t also advertise for young professionals who work 9-5. Otherwise, you may have to deal with a lot of noise complaints when the students stay up all night. 

Make sure you rent your property to people with a similar lifestyle. 

Tip 6: Be Prepared to Deal with Tenant Disputes

In the unlikely event that there are disputes between your tenants, you will need to be prepared to act quickly to solve the issue. We recommend that you listen, be professional and act decisively.

 Tip 7: Provide Weekly Cleaning

Although your tenants are responsible for cleaning their own space, they may not provide a satisfactory clean of the communal areas.

That’s why we recommend that you hire a cleaning company to provide a weekly communal cleaning service to ensure that all communal areas, shared appliances and refuse facilities are clean and well maintained.

Tip 8: Provide Garden Maintenance

Similar to the suggested weekly cleaning of communal areas, we recommend that you provide a regular garden maintenance service to keep gardens in a good healthy condition.

Tip 9: Manage Waste Refuse 

As an HMO manager, it is your responsibility to provide a refuse management service to ensure that the refuse facilities are clean and functioning for your tenants.

Tip 10: Regular Inspections 

In addition to providing emergency repairs and maintenance, we recommend that you undertake regular inspections. This should include visual checks of all communal areas, refuse facilities and testing fire alarms, smoke, and heat detectors. 

Tip 11: Furniture 

As most HMOs are furnished, you will need to consider the type of furniture you provide. We recommend practical, sturdy, and robust furniture – rather than ultra-stylish furniture that may not last.

Most rooms will need a bed, desk, chair, dresser, and wardrobe. If there is space, we recommend that you hire a local joiner to build a fitted wardrobe, as this will be more solid than a standalone store-bought wardrobe.

Tip 12: Be Prepared to be a Full-time HMO Manager 

Since HMOs have five or more adults living under one roof, it is likely that there will be more problems that need your attention, from:

  • Noise complaints
  • Personality issues
  • Broken down appliances 
  • Dirty communal areas
  • Emergency plumbing issues

In addition, because HMOs usually are short-term lets, there will be a higher turnover of tenants, which means more administration work for you.

This means you will need to be organised, contactable and available – especially for emergencies, every day of the year.

If you don’t want HMO Management to be a full-time job for you, you can hire someone to help you, or you can appoint an agent to manage your HMO. Of course, you will need to factor in the cost.

Next Steps?

As specialists in HMO conversions, licencing and management since 2006, we can provide you with advice on your HMO property. Call us on +44 (0) 203 286 6468 or email us at

Douglas Fokuo

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