If you have a HMO property to rent but are new to this type of investment and need some guidance ensuring it’s ready to be let, then you’re in the right place. We’ve created a comprehensive HMO property checklist to make sure you’re aware of all the essential elements and minute details involved in listing your HMO property for rent.
1. Do you need a HMO property licence?
Before you can begin to take on tenants, you must first establish whether your HMO requires a licence. Not all HMOs need one – only those that have three or more occupants from separate households sharing communal facilities. To find out more about becoming a HMO licensed property, it’s best to contact your local council or apply online for a HMO property licence.
2. Does your property meet HMO rules and regulations?
Even if your HMO doesn’t require a licence, it will still be subject to the minimum HMO rules and regulations in the UK. Unlike buy-to-let properties, HMOs must conform to more stringent and extensive standards in order to ensure all tenants are safe and comfortable.
For example, is the property gas safe? Do you have smoke alarms fitted on every floor? What is the property’s EPC rating, and are the rooms big enough for the number of tenants you want to accommodate? These are just some of the questions you’ll need to answer to gauge whether your HMO property is compliant with the latest HMO guidance. You can find out more about the minimum requirements for HMO properties here.
3. Get your paperwork in order
A letting agent can also prepare the host of paperwork and important legal documents required to rent your HMO, including tenancy agreements, guarantor paperwork and inventory forms. Regardless of whether you’re managing the property yourself or using a letting agent, having this paperwork ready and in order before you start to source tenants can make the letting process both easier and faster.
4. Cut plenty of keys
Another way that you can make taking on tenants even easier is by cutting enough keys for every tenant beforehand. Each tenant should have a key for the front door as well as for their own room. While many properties will also have a back door key, this key is typically kept in the property so it can be used by all tenants as and when required.
It’s also a good idea to create a few spare sets of keys in the event that a tenant loses theirs. This can saves costs further down the line when it comes to changing locks and cutting new front door keys for all tenants. Plus, to make routine property maintenance and inspections easier, you should ensure that you’ve cut keys for yourself and, if you choose, the agency, too, for easy access.
5. Set up a communication plan with your tenants
Prior to the arrival of tenants, you’ll need to consider how you want to communicate with them. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a notice board installed in a communal space. Often installed in the kitchen or living space, this notice board is the perfect place to pin important pieces of information, including emergency contact numbers, fire escape routes, health and safety information and even the refuse collection timetable.
6. Predict the needs of your target tenants
To make your HMO even more attractive to your target market, you need to consider their specific requirements. Students and single professionals, for example, are likely to require high-speed wireless broadband and a dedicated working space either in a communal area or their private bedroom. Investing in compact desks and pre-installing broadband from a reliable internet provider can help to show off the potential and suitability of your HMO to your target tenant.
7. Think about the finishing touches
When tenants are viewing the property, it’s important that it makes a good first impression and one way to do this is by paying attention to the finishing touches. From mirrors that bounce light around dark and narrow corridors to colourful pictures that add personality to neutral spaces, these small yet crucial details could make all the difference when it comes to getting a signature on your tenancy agreement. A few cosy throws and scatter cushions on the communal sofas can also create a feeling of comfort, making the property seem instantly more inviting.
8. Is the property properly furnished?
The allure of many HMOs for tenants lies in the fact that they often come completely furnished. While they must have essential kitchen appliances like a fridge and freezer, they tend to also come with living room furniture, bedroom storage and a chest of drawers, a double bed frame, and even a mattress. Making a furniture checklist is the best way to ensure the property is sufficiently furnished for the occupants.
9. Carry out the cleaning
Especially important if you’ve carried out major renovations to the property, some builders won’t leave the interior quite as clean and tidy as they found it. Before any tenants start to unpack or even view the property, it’s, therefore, a good idea to thoroughly clean the property with a helping hand from a professional cleaning company. This makes a great first impression and sets the cleanliness standard from the outset.
10. Self-management or agency management?
If you have plenty of experience self-managing properties with multiple tenants then you may feel comfortable going down the self-management property route. However, if you don’t have the time, knowledge or experience to manage a HMO, then you may want to consider enlisting help from a letting agent and their HMO property management services.
HMO property management at Mistoria
Why not consider reaching out to our highly experienced and professional property management team at Mistoria Bolton? Thanks to years of invaluable experience in this industry, we can provide bespoke support, guidance and service for a range of properties, including HMOs in the Bolton area. You can either give us a call on 01204 800 766 or send us an enquiry using our handy online contact form to get in touch with a friendly and knowledgeable member of our team!