How to furnish your HMO

How to Furnish an HMO Property for the Highest Returns

Furnishing an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) is not required by law, but it is highly advisable for landlords to fully furnish their HMO property.

Here’s a guide for the furnishings and fittings that an HMO landlord should supply:

Unlike single lets, where the majority of landlords prefer to let out their property unfurnished, many experienced HMO landlords opt to always fully furnish their HMO properties to achieve the highest rental figure.

What do tenants expect?

Furnish HMO

All furnishings, fittings, and appliances should be provided in relation to the number of people in the property. For instance, if an HMO houses 6 people, there should be enough space in the kitchen to store food for 6 people, the same logic applies to seating and kitchenware.

How much should be spent furnishing the HMO?

Due to there being more occupants in an HMO, the property experiences wear and tear faster than a single let, as such, a rule of thumb is to understand that most furniture items will need to be replaced every 3–5 years. Causally, the increased rental income supports this increased rate of repairs.

From the perspective of a tenant, one of the most attractive features of an HMO property is that it is fully furnished, so providing inadequate, or too little furnishings will work against a property’s ability to attract good tenants.

Equally, over furnishing, or adding unnecessary furnishings will only add to the list of items that a landlord is responsible for, which could damage cash flow if it needs constant replacing or maintenance.

Why quality matters?

Many experienced HMO landlords have made the mistake of opting for cheap furnishings in their property in an attempt to save money for other areas of their projects.

However, due to the increased amount of wear and tear that an HMO will receive, this method of saving is often cited as a ‘false economy’ as the initial savings are drowned out when the items need constant repairing and eventual replacement.

As such, it’s best to find products that suit the budget, are durable, and complement the style of the room. Because of this, it’s recommended to spend a good amount of time choosing the right furniture and appliances for your HMO property.

Who is responsible for damages?

As previously mentioned, damages and maintenance are to be expected with property management, here are some common examples of damages in HMO management:

Communal area damages — The landlord is responsible for damages and disrepairs caused to items within communal areas, unlike single lets where the tenant would be responsible.

The landlord is not responsible for the following damages:

– Damages to tenants’ own possessions.

– Damages to items tenants are entitled to remove from the property.

– Damages to furnishings inside of a tenant’s room.

Wear and tear — As wear and tear is an inevitable by-product, there is no ‘culprit’ or ‘responsible person’ for damages related to it.

Common examples of wear and tear in HMOs are worn carpets and thin upholstery, it is up to the landlord to replace these items in due course.

Par for the course — Damages and repairs to communal areas, whether accidental or wear and tear will happen when renting out an HMO, and unfortunately, due to there being multiple tenancies within the same property, it is difficult to find the responsible person for damages unless they confess themselves.

As such, damages caused by tenants must sometimes be absorbed by the landlord, it’s simply the nature of the beast, however, it ensures that peace is maintained throughout all the tenants in the property and ensures a smoother experience for both the landlord and the tenants.

Conclusion

To achieve the highest returns on your HMO property, it is highly recommended that landlords fully furnish the property with appliances and furnishings of durable quality, as HMOs experience wear and tear at a much faster rate than single lets.

Ideally, the landlord should want to attract long-term tenants, which can be done by installing furnishings which will benefit the tenants’ quality of life, such as high-speed internet and outdoor space, these features will allow the tenants to see the HMO as a longer-term housing option.

Want to earn up to 3x higher rental returns than your single-let property? Get in touch and discuss your property today.

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