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  • Writer's pictureLucy ay Winova

How To Ensure Your HMO Rooms Stay Full

Within your property investment portfolio, there will always be an element of tenants coming and going over the weeks, months and years that you own the property. Whether you own just one property or a whole portfolio of assets, this is inevitable at one point or another.

While voids in a HMO (house of Multiple Occupancy) might seem like less of a problem to a Landlord because you might still have other rooms tenanted and creating income, they are still an issue and something better off avoiding.

Voids cost money and when you own investment properties, you really want them to be successful assets and keep all rooms as full as you can. There are a variety of factors outside of you control as a Landlord that might mean a tenant leaves – job loss, moving countries etc. It is important to focus on the controllables and ensure, where you can, that your rooms as attractive and remain full!

Her are some top tips and tricks to help keep voids to a minimal:

· Decent Refurbishment – Your research into demand in the area will dictate the type of refurbishment you undertake in your HMO. This means giving the tenants exactly what they want, having spoken to local letting agents. While it is important to decorate the property to a good standard, it is also advisable not to get carried away. There is always more to be done and extra things you can include. All of these things cost money and might mean what started off as a great deal, slowly becomes a less lucrative asset.

Ensure what you are doing to the house, the decorating and what appliances you include in all rooms is exactly what tenants in the area expect for the amount they are going to be paying each month. This way they are happy and content and (hopefully) won’t look elsewhere.

· Be A Brilliant Landlord – This one might sound like a no-brainer, but it goes without saying that there are many Landlords out there who don’t look after their tenants. Quite simply, if you look after your investment property and your tenants, they will stay longer and look after the property as well. Doing all you can to make them feel happy and comfortable will work in your favour.

It is important to remember that at the end of the day, where people live is very important and special to them. If you can enhance that experience for them in any way, there is no reason not to.

· Look After The Property – Make sure you invest money in a cleaner and ensure the place is well-kept. Not only will this keep the tenants happy but it will ensure that as soon as a tenant might leave, the new people looking around will be checking out a clean and well maintained house which should hopefully get them to sign on the dotted line. Some HMO landlords do very little to maintain the property and this is the worst possible thing you can do. Keep it looking great, clean and tidy and it will pay in the long run – BIG TIME!

· Don’t Be Greedy - A mistake that is often made by Landlords is being greedy. Increasing the rent on a regular basis will likely put your tenants off and out price them from the house so it is too expensive for them to continue staying in your property. You must research the going rate for your road and postcode and be sure to stay in line with those prices, else tenants will look elsewhere. If you are using a letting agent, make sure you spend time picking the right one for you. A letting agent should be professional and reliable and enable you to rent out your investment property securely to a suitable tenant, as well as helping you achieve the best possible rent. Tenants will shop around and know when they are being overcharged; they won’t pay over the odds unless it is for something super special.

· Chose a good letting agent - Here are some of our top tips to help you chose the right property letting agent for you:

· Registered to professional organisations – Ideally your property letting agent should be a member of a professional organisation such as ARLA Propertymark, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

· Member of a Property Redress Scheme – This is something that is mandatory, required by law and non-negotiable. They should display their scheme logo on their website and communications, and you can check the redress scheme website member catalogue to check they are being honest.

· Transparency – All property letting agents should be clear and transparent about all of their fees upfront, so you understand exactly what you are paying for and when. There should be no hidden fees and no money should be taken from you without your permission or knowledge.

· Recommendation – Always consider a property letting agent who has been recommended to you. Do not just pick the cheapest option. There is such a large number of property letting agents to chose from now all across the UK and competition is fierce. It would always be advisable to consider a property letting agent who has been around for sometime, comes recommended and has built a reliable name for themselves and their business.

· Location – It may seem obvious but make sure you are using an agent who is in the same town or city as your investment property. If they are not local, they will not know the area well or what rent you should be achieving or the type of tenants you would be looking to rent out your investment property.

· Client Money Protection – Property Letting agents will always handle deposits, rents and maintenance monies. Landlords and tenants need to be certain that the money is safe and that no-one can disappear with it. A reputable and professional letting agency will be able to demonstrate that it belongs to a Client Money Protection scheme. As a general rule, all landlord and tenant money should be held in a Client Account, separate from the letting agent’s general bank account. You are well within your rights to ask them if this exists.

· Paperwork and Referencing – Property letting agents will manage all the paperwork for you including all tenancy agreements. These should be reviewed with you and you are allowed to edit them if you wish as you are the owner and landlord of the investment property. Property Tenants come in all shapes and sizes. The property letting agent must carry out credit checks on new tenants, referencing, confirm they have the right to reside and work in the UK and much more. This is all to ensure you have an appropriate in your property and that.

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