HMO Frustrations for Tenants – And How to Avoid them!
Living in a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) can be a great way to save money on rent and to meet new people, but it can also come with its fair share of irritations. From noisy neighbours to shared spaces that are not properly maintained, there are a number of things that can make life in an HMO less than enjoyable and which YOU as the landlord can help alleviate – leading to longer tenancies and happier tenants!
One of the most common complaints among HMO tenants is noise. Whether it’s the sound of loud music or TV coming from a neighbouring room, or the sound of people talking and laughing late at night, noise can be a major source of irritation for HMO tenants. This can be particularly problematic in HMOs where the walls are thin and sound easily travels between units. If you haven’t insulated adjoining walls against sound, there are things you can do to minimise this problem – one effective approach is to place furniture against the adjoining walls to absorb some of the sound. You can also stick some carpet to the back of the furniture to add to the sound insulation effect. Laying carpet instead of hard flooring in the bedrooms and upper stories also helps absorb sound.
Another common complaint among HMO tenants is the state of shared spaces. From dirty kitchens and bathrooms to poorly maintained common areas, shared spaces that are not properly cleaned and maintained can make life in an HMO less than comfortable. This can be especially frustrating for tenants who take care to keep their own rooms clean and tidy. Having signage about House Rules, regular cleaners, and a lead tenant who reports issues or leads on bin management can really help.
Another major concern for HMO tenants is the lack of storage space. With multiple people sharing a single house, it can be difficult to find space for all of your belongings. This can lead to clutter and disorganisation, which can be both frustrating and unsightly. In many of our communal areas we plan to maximise storage space – whether that is by building in units under the stairs for example, or having large storage boxes that tenants can use to store their items.
Poor communication from landlords and property managers can also be a major source of irritation for HMO tenants. Whether it’s the lack of response to maintenance requests or the failure to address issues in a timely manner, poor communication can make life in an HMO less than pleasant. Ensure that your systems are easy to access and that when you have a message, the tenant gets a speedy response. Using the services of a VA or automated system such as a chat bot are reasonably inexpensive and can help to avoid these frustrations.
Finally, many HMO tenants find it irritating when they are not given proper notice before viewings or inspections. This can be particularly frustrating when it happens frequently or at inconvenient times. You must give at least 24 hours notice of a room inspection according to the AST, but communal areas can be entered at any time. However, it is courteous to let tenants know as it is their home after all.
In conclusion, while HMOs can be a great option for many people, they can also come with their fair share of irritations. From noise and dirty shared spaces to lack of privacy and poor communication, there are a number of things that can make life in an HMO less than enjoyable. It’s important for landlords and property managers to be aware of these common complaints and to take steps to address them in order to ensure that HMO tenants are happy and comfortable in their living environment.