There are many people these days that end up living in HMO or House of Multiple Occupation. People from all sorts of backgrounds live in HMO households and for a variety of different reasons.
This includes students who are living away from home during term time, professionals who want property close to their work but do not want to buy or rent their own individual property, and people who are on housing benefit and living in a bedsit in a block with communal facilities.
Basically, living in an HMO means living in a property and sharing facilities with two or more other people who do not own the property (i.e. they are not the homeowner) and who are not related to you. The shared facilities include kitchens, bathrooms and other communal areas. An HMO property can be anything from a house or apartment through to a hostel, block of bedsits, halls of residence, or even a hotel/bed and breakfast that has permanent residents.
Having spent time living in HMO as a student, when I shared facilities with several other students in the same house, there are clearly pros and cons that you have to cope with. Of course, a lot of people have and still do live in HMO households and while this is not usually a permanent arrangement it can provide a useful stepping stone while you are studying, working in an area temporarily, or even trying to get on your feet so that you can afford to buy or rent your own home.
In fairness, there are a number of benefits that come with living in HMO, which goes some way towards explaining why so many people do this at some point in their lives. Some of the key benefits of doing this as a student, as per my own experience, include:
Of course, you do need to consider the downside to living in an HMO household, although in my opinion the pros by far outweigh the cons given that this was only ever a temporary measure while at university. One of the key disadvantages is lack of privacy. Of course, you have your own bedroom but you can’t simply enjoy a night on your own in the living room chilling out with a movie or invite friends around and cook dinner for them because you have other people using the facilities too. That said, my housemates and I got along well, so if one of us did want some time to ourselves in the house we would come to some arrangement and sort out a night that was convenient for everyone. I think that had we not all got along well, living in HMO would have been a very different experience, as getting on with people you are sharing a house and facilities with 24/7 is essential.