The stigma that surrounds Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is not new.

For some time, this specific buy-to-let model of renting out multiple rooms on an individual basis to unconnected tenants has been associated with student lets, bedsits and social housing.

Typically, the view is that such properties are low quality accommodation lived in by people on low incomes with no or little respect for the house or their surrounding neighbours. It is also not uncommon for these types of HMOs to be owned by greedy landlords who exploit the need for low-cost shared housing to generate a healthy income - without properly looking after the tenants or the property.

A recent episode of the BBC’s ‘The One Show’ highlighted such bad HMO landlords. In the episode, first aired on Wednesday 9th July, Tony Livesey investigated rogue HMO landlords who were renting accommodation to tenants deemed ‘not fit for dogs’.

It showed a series of shocking properties, some of which didn’t even have a legitimate license to operate as an HMO - it is estimated that there are more than 30,000 licensed HMOs throughout the UK. This figure does not include those that are operating illegally, or those that don’t actually require any formal licensing.

Permanent heating failure, uncollected rubbish, severe pest infestation, damp and mould were just some of the things tenants had to endure. In some cases, up to three adults shared one room and HMO inspector, Adrian, said finding mattresses in garden sheds was not an unusual scenario!

While tenants are, to some degree, accountable for maintaining the properties they live in, landlords have a basic responsibility for the welfare of their tenants and the state of the rented properties. It is exactly this kind of negligent behaviour that give HMOs a bad reputation – not only amongst neighbours, but tenants and other buy-to-let investors too.

As England slowly moves away from being a land of home owners and more and more people are choosing to rent long-term, it’s important that landlords are committed to providing a high standard of affordable rented accommodation.

The good news is that for every bad landlord, there is an abundance of great ones. At PPP, we have more than 200 Partners who are running their own portfolios of HMOs. They pride themselves on creating high quality, affordable shared accommodation for key workers and working professionals. As well as ensuring their HMOs comply with all local licensing requirements, our Partners go to great lengths to build relationships with their neighbours and their tenants. Because of this, they achieve extremely high occupancy rates, averaging 97%.

Here’s what a few of our Partners’ tenants have said about the PPP property they live(d) in:

Chris, Eastbourne

“Was very happy with my room and the high standard facilities provided. I would highly recommend a property owned by a Platinum Property Partner as a first choice for long-term let in Eastbourne and would definitely rent here again in the future.”

Katherine, Basingstoke

“It was great to find somewhere so nice to live, so close to the hospital and within my price range.”

Margaret, Enfield

“I could not recommend this service any more. The house was perfect in every way. Polly was brilliant from the day I moved in. She was kind, generous and went above and beyond to make all tenants happy at all times.”

Vicki, Isle of Wight

“I lived in the house share for over a year and I really enjoyed my time there...It was certainly a brilliant way to move to an entirely new area, or simply make new friends, and both the house and the landlord were excellent and very welcoming.”

So, if you’re considering investing in buy-to-let property, then don’t be put off HMOs by the actions of the minority. HMOs can generate significantly higher returns than single-occupancy buy-to-let properties. Their resilient and robust nature can not only provide a buffer against interest rate rises, but if completed and maintained to a high standard, are also sought-after by many of the UK’s nine million private renters.

If you’re an HMO tenant, what experiences have you had? If you’re a HMO landlord, how do you ensure standards are maintained? Leave us a comment below.

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Whether you’re keen to find out more about Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), or want information on the latest lettings legislation, you’ll find it here on the blog.