Diary of a HMO Landlord

I have been involved in property investment since 2002, but started getting drawn towards Multi Let property and Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) from around 2008 as the penny dropped that buying for capital appreciation and my retirement was all well and good, but I needed to pay for today.

So in 2008 I started my Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) education, I read books, visited internet forums and attended as many free webinars as I could enabling me to slowly piece together the HMO puzzle until I felt confident enough to make my first purchase at auction in 2010.

So for the last 5 years I have been actively purchasing and refurbishing property in Cardiff to create both professional house shares and also multi let property for Housing Benefit tenants, I know everybody says I am mad!
As you can imagine the last 5 years have been quite intense carrying out numerous refurbishment projects and one hell of a steep learning curve dealing with a broad spectrum of tenants, but 5 years later I am still here and loving what I do.

Why this post?

I have learnt so much but until now haven’t had the time to share but if all goes well I intend to share my knowledge in the form of a weekly “Diary of a HMO Landlord” entry which will hopefully provide readers with a real insight into what it is to be a HMO Landlord.
Just in the last two weeks I have had to rod manholes full of crap, had meeting with charities completed numerous tenancies, Housing Benefit forms, been a social worker and put up with the usual of tenants thinking they can terminate their tenancy whenever they like!

I love being a HMO landlord, but I don’t think you could write a job description for the role as there are so many different elements you have to be aware of.

Anyway that’s enough rambling for now; I hope you enjoy my future “Diary of a HMO Landlord” posts and please feel free to ask any questions via my blog or complete the form below if there are any specific HMO topics you would like me to discuss.

HMO plans for Bangor slammed by the council

More council HMO bashing is taking place in Bangor, North Wales as a health authority plan to turn to two large buildings in Bangor into houses of multiple occupation (HMO) have been slammed by councillors.

The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has submitted applications to change Bodfaen, on Craig y Don Road, into a seven-bedroom house of multiple occupancy (HMO), and 26 College Road into an eight-bedroom house of multiple occupation (HMO).

The plans were discussed at a meeting of Bangor City Council’s planning and amenities committee last week and councillors immediately dismissed them as “disgraceful” and claimed developments such as this were turning Bangor into “a ghetto”.

The city council has been very clear on its policy on HMOs with many recommended for refusal due to reasons such as over-development of the sites.

Cllr June Marshall said: “Plans for a HMO in Garth were refused and we need to be careful because we don’t want entire streets which are HMOs.

“I am very happy to propose this application is refused.”

Cllr John Wynn Jones said: “There is an effect on society if there are too many HMOs.

“It is very irresponsible (of the health board) – I think it’s disgraceful.

“I think we should write to them and ask them what their intentions are.”

Cllr Derek Hainge, chairman of the committee, asked councillors about writing to the health board and ask them if they are turning the city “into a ghetto”.

Cllr Keith Marshall said: “They should turn it (Bodfaen) into a family house and then put it on the market.

Town clerk Gwyn Hughes said he was concerned over parking amenities for the two sites and also stated his continued concerns over the amount of HMO applications the council was receiving.

Councillors voted unanimously to recommend rejection for the two applications which will now go before Gwynedd Council’s planning committee.

A spokesman for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: “We can confirm that Change of Use applications have been submitted to Gwynedd County Council Planning Service for two properties which are to be vacated shortly due to the transfer of staff to other health board sites in Bangor.

“The Health Board will respond to any material objections raised as part of the normal planning process; our understanding from Gwynedd County Council is that no objections have been received by them to-date.”

Rooms in Cardiff is a provider of landlord services across Cardiff and South Wales specialising in multi let property, Student housing, professional house share and house of multiple occupancy (HMO) and offer the following services:

Rooms to Rent in Cardiff  £120 Fixed Fee Tenant Finder (No Tenant No Fee)

Property Listing page to advertise your available rooms on Spareroom, EasyRoomMate, Gumtree and Zoopla until let for one Fixed Price.

HMO Rent Guarantee No Void Periods & No Fees

You can contact Rooms in Cardiff via email info@RoomsInCardiff.co.uk

Telephone 0845 496 0000

or by completing the form below to arrange a call from one of our team.

HMO Landlord Fined for Unsafe, Overcrowded and Unlicensed Luton Property

Another HMO Landlord added to our “rogue Landlord” feature, a useful guide of how not to go about managing a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) and multi let portfolio.

HMO Landlord Khaled Ahmed, 36, failed to attend Luton Magistrates Court on 15 October where he was ordered to pay nearly £53,000 for operating an unlicensed, unsafe and overcrowded House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO).

This Luton HMO Landlord has gone for the hat-trick by managing a unsafe, overcrowded and unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and following a number of complaints from tenants living at the property at 35 Dunraven Avenue, officers from the Council’s Private Sector Housing team carried out an inspection of the eight-bedroom, four-storey house where a number of health and safety breaches were found the most serious being structure altered internally causing a number of potentially fatal fire safety hazards.

This rogue HMO Landlord provided poorly sub-divided rooms to gain additional smaller bedrooms so more people could live there. One bedroom measured just five square metres as well as a young female student living in the attic space, which could only be accessed by an unstable staircase, without windows, ventilation or heating. Other hazards related to obstructed fire exits, accumulations of rubbish, lack of fire doors, and lack of fire alarms and disrepair to the property.

The Magistrate described the property as a ‘death trap’ run for commercial gain and convicted Mr Ahmed for all breaches.

Mr Ahmed was fined £15,000 for failing to licence the property, a further £4,000 for each of the nine breaches of the Management of House in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006 which totalled a further £36,000 and a £15 victim surcharge. The Council was also awarded £1,957 costs. Total fines and costs amounted to £52,957 which is one of the highest fines recorded in Luton.

As a further consequence the tenants can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order to claim back all rent paid for the past 12 months.

When handing out the fines, the Court also took into account that Mr Ahmed had taken over £22,500 in rent and deposits from tenants.

Cllr Tom Shaw, Portfolio Holder for housing, said: “This is one of the worse cases we have ever seen with tenants being subjected to dangerous and potentially life threatening conditions. What makes it worse is that the actions of the landlord were deliberate and purely for commercial gain.

“I am glad that  substantial fines were imposed, as this serves as a strong warning to any other landlord who thinks they can get away with this illegal behaviour. HMOs need to be licensed to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the occupants and to prevent them living in overcrowded conditions with insufficient facilities.”

“The Council takes the condition of the private rented sector very seriously and we have recently embarked on a programme of inspecting all Houses in Multiple Occupation within Luton. We will not hesitate to take further court action should any other offences be committed.”

Anyone living near or knowing of such a property which they believe to be an unlicensed HMO should contact the council on 01582 54 72 22 or email HMO.Hotline@luton.gov.uk.

Rooms in Cardiff is a provider of landlord services across Cardiff and South Wales specialising in multi let property, Student housing, professional house share and house of multiple occupancy (HMO) and offer the following services:

Rooms to Rent in Cardiff  £120 Fixed Fee Tenant Finder (No Tenant No Fee)

Property Listing page to advertise your available rooms on Spareroom, EasyRoomMate, Gumtree and Zoopla until let for one Fixed Price.

HMO Rent Guarantee No Void Periods & No Fees

You can contact Rooms in Cardiff via email info@RoomsInCardiff.co.uk

Telephone 0845 496 0000

or by completing the form below to arrange a call from one of our team.

Are UK House Prices set for a 15% fall?

At Rooms in Cardiff we aim to provide landlords, home owners and property investor’s detailed analysis of the property market in Cardiff, Wales and across the UK.

There has been a wealth of housing data released all hinting at which direction UK house prices are going over the next 12 months, but at Rooms in Cardiff we have been doing our own online research and wanted to share this with our readers.

 Net Mortgage Lending Growth

The Bank of England (BoE) provides monthly data on UK net mortgage lending growth (NMLG). Historically this has proved a handy guide to house prices.

September 2012 saw UK NMLG remain at 1.1%. That compares with annual growth of 1.9% two years ago, 5.7% in December 2008 and 11.1% in February 2007. Meanwhile, the October Nationwide UK house price index was down by 0.9% year-on-year.

What does this mean for UK house prices?

As you can see from the above graph, this long-term collapse in NMLG suggests UK house prices are standing at the cliff face. If they follow net lending trends, residential property values could slump by over 15%.

Rooms in Cardiff is a provider of landlord services across Cardiff and South Wales specialising in multi let property, Student housing, professional house share and house of multiple occupancy (HMO) and offer the following services:

Rooms to Rent in Cardiff  £120 Fixed Fee Tenant Finder (No Tenant No Fee)

Property Listing page to advertise your available rooms on Spareroom, EasyRoomMate, Gumtree and Zoopla until let for one Fixed Price.

HMO Rent Guarantee No Void Periods & No Fees

You can contact Rooms in Cardiff via email info@RoomsInCardiff.co.uk

Telephone 0845 496 0000

or by completing the form below to arrange a call from one of our team.

The Court Process of Possessing a Property

We thought the following flow chart and information relating to the process of gaining legal possession of a property may be of use to all the landlords out there.  The flow chart and information is taken from the Ministry of Justice.

To obtain a court order granting the entitlement to take possession of a  property, a claimant – a mortgage lender or a landlord – must first make a claim which is then issued by a county court. Generally, the issuing process involves the arrangement of an initial hearing before a judge. At such a hearing, a judge may:

  • · grant an order for outright possession of the property at a date decided by the judge;
  • · grant a suspended order for possession of the property; or,
  • · grant no order for possession (e.g. after deciding the claimant has no legal right to take possession of the property).

The suspended order for possession of the property usually requires the defendant to pay the latest mortgage or rent instalment, plus some of the arrears that have built up, within a certain defined period. As long as the defendant complies with the terms of the suspension, the possession order cannot be enforced.

More than one order may be granted during the course of an individual case. For example, it is possible that after an initial possession order is granted, the defendant may make an application to the court for the order to be varied or set aside, which could then result in another order being made.

A granted order entitles the claimant to apply for a warrant to have the defendant evicted by bailiffs, so taking possession of the property. Only then does repossession occur. Actual repossession figures (including voluntary repossessions such as where the mortgagee or tenant hands back the keys) are only available for mortgages and are compiled by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

Throughout the court process, even where a warrant for possession is issued, the claimant and defendant can still negotiate a compromise arrangement to prevent eviction.

A flow chart showing the court process of possessing a property for landlords and mortgage lenders

Rooms in Cardiff is a provider of landlord services across Cardiff and South Wales specialising in multi let property, Student housing, professional house share and house of multiple occupancy (HMO) and offer the following services:

Rooms to Rent in Cardiff  £120 Fixed Fee Tenant Finder (No Tenant No Fee)

Property Listing page to advertise your available rooms on Spareroom, EasyRoomMate, Gumtree and Zoopla until let for one Fixed Price.

HMO Rent Guarantee No Void Periods & No Fees

You can contact Rooms in Cardiff via email info@RoomsInCardiff.co.uk

Telephone 0845 496 0000

or by completing the form below to arrange a call from one of our team.

Swansea HMO a battleground for Students & Council

Swansea HMO have become the latest battleground for Students and the City’s council

Swansea Student representatives and Swansea council are involved a row over houses of multiple occupation (HMO) a house of multiple occupancy is a dwelling which is occupied by three or more unrelated individuals.

Swansea Councillors like some many councils across England and Wales want powers to control planning over HMOs in the city saying some areas have too many and that residents want their streets back but Swansea University students’ union say Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) provide affordable student accommodation which is vital in times of economic uncertainty and rising university fees and they fear that new powers could result in fewer affordable housing options.

Welfare officer Charlotte Britton said: “A lot of HMOs are student houses, and are some of the most affordable housing in the private rented sector.

“This makes them very popular for a lot of young people and those on low incomes in cities across the UK.

“These caps on HMOs have already been introduced in some university cities in England, due to certain lobby groups who think that stopping HMOs will solve problems such as incorrect waste disposal, poor housing standards and anti-social behaviour.

“So far, there is no proof that these caps have made any significant improvement in any of these areas.

“Swansea students’ union also shares the same view as NUS Wales, that encouraging people within their community to engage with each other and work together to solve community tensions is much more effective than using badly thought-through planning laws.”

Swansea’s Labour-led council said in its election manifesto that tackling what it called an “overconcentration” of HMOs which “blights” many parts of the city would be a major priority.

Brynmill and Uplands are areas where many students live in shared homes.

And earlier this month first minister Carwyn Jones said capping would be “the last thing” the Welsh government would do.

But John Bayliss, councillor for Uplands says the issue is not about placing a cap on the number of HMOs.

“We want to control them, we don’t necessarily want to cap them,” he said.

“The densification in my ward is the main issue. We have a problem where 80% of a certain street is HMO and the remaining 20% don’t feel there’s a community.”

Mr Bayliss said having planning control would allow the council to make sure HMOs could be placed in suitable locations.

He added that it would give them the power to force landlords to improve property standards or take their licence away.

The councillor also pointed out that there were about 1,400 HMOs in his ward and the neighbouring Castle ward.

As many of them were rented by students, he said no council tax was paid but money still needed to be found to provide services in those areas like rubbish collections.

“I think the student body have their own interest and they exclude the needs of the local community,” Mr Bayliss added.

“The statement from the welfare officer of the Swansea students’ union is unfortunate. I see their argument but it’s only one part of an argument.”

Councillors are due to meet housing minister Huw Lewis at a later date.

Rooms in Cardiff is a provider of landlord services across Cardiff and South Wales specialising in multi let property, Student housing, professional house share and house of multiple occupancy (HMO) and offer the following services:

Rooms to Rent in Cardiff  £120 Fixed Fee Tenant Finder (No Tenant No Fee)

Property Listing page to advertise your available rooms on Spareroom, EasyRoomMate, Gumtree and Zoopla until let for one Fixed Price.

HMO Rent Guarantee No Void Periods & No Fees

You can contact Rooms in Cardiff via email info@webletz.co.uk

Telephone 0845 496 0000

or by completing the form below to arrange a call from one of our team.

Swansea HMO Landlord: License Properties or Face Fines

Two Swansea HMO Landlords have received heavy fines by magistrates after failing to license their respective House of Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Fines of more than £9,000 were handed out to Huw Rees Davies of Llangennech, Llanelli and Mark Gethin Harris of Mildenhall, Suffolk.  Both defendants failed to obtain licenses for their House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) after several reminders from the council.

Mr Davies, appeared before Cardiff Magistrates and was fined a total of £1,450 in relation to two properties at William Street and Clarence Street. He pleaded guilty to a total of 15 offences including failure to license an HMO at one property and breaching licensing conditions at another.

Mr Harris appeared before Swansea Magistrates and pleaded guilty to 12 offences linked to a house at Chaddesley Terrace. They included failure to license an HMO and failure to comply with Management Regulations. He was fined a total of £8,000.

Swansea Council is now urging landlords who rent out Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in the city to check if they need a licence.

The Council was awarded a total of £2,193 costs for both cases.

Mark Child, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “Tenants in private rented accommodation in Swansea need to be reassured that the property they are living in is safe and is maintained to an acceptable standard.

“The licensing scheme we have in place helps to verify that landlords are carrying out their responsibilities to provide good quality accommodation.

“We will continue to prosecute anyone who fails to license their property when they are required to. If landlords are unsure whether they need a licence they can contact the Council for advice.”

Swansea HMO landlords must acquire an HMO Licence and manage their property in accordance with the HMO Management Regulations.

There are around 2000 HMOs in Swansea, many of which are located in the two central wards of Castle and Uplands.

All HMOs in Castle and Uplands need to be licensed. HMOs in other areas require a licence if there are three or more floors and five or more occupants.

Landlords in Swansea can visit Swansea Council’s website for help and advice about licensing an HMO. Visit www.swansea.gov.uk/hmos  or phone 01792 635600.

Rooms in Cardiff is a provider of landlord services across Cardiff and South Wales specialising in multi let property, Student housing, professional house share and house of multiple occupancy (HMO) and offer the following services:

Rooms to Rent in Cardiff  £120 Fixed Fee Tenant Finder (No Tenant No Fee)

Property Listing page to advertise your available rooms on Spareroom, EasyRoomMate, Gumtree and Zoopla until let for one Fixed Price.

HMO Rent Guarantee No Void Periods & No Fees

You can contact Rooms in Cardiff via email info@webletz.co.uk

Telephone 0845 496 0000

or by completing the form below to arrange a call from one of our team.