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The Pros and Cons of Living in HMO

Published on July 16, 2015 by Landa George in News, Property Investment

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.

So, what are the advantages of living in HMO?

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:

  • More affordable: Renting a property on my own or even with one friend while at university would have been too expensive. However, opting for an HMO tenancy provided me with an affordable option when it came to accommodation while I was living away from my parents and studying.
  • Less hassle: Another thing about living in HMO is that most of the bills are generally included in with the weekly or monthly rent, such as council tax, water rates, heating and the like. This means far less budgeting and hassle and no need to worry about sorting out bill payments every month.
  • Shared housework: I’ve lived on my own since leaving university, and trying to juggle work and maintain the house can be difficult to say the least. In HMO, the other students and I shared the housework and created a rota, which was ideal because we could all get on with our college work yet we all pulled together to make sure the house was clean and tidy.
  • A properly managed property: We were lucky when I was living in HMO, as we had a good landlord who dealt with any problems promptly. If anything broke down such as kitchen appliances, he would be on to it right away. This saved us a lot of hassle and inconvenience.

Is there a downside to living in HMO?

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.

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About the author
Landa GeorgeLanda George and her husband invest in property part-time and specialise in creative strategies that can assist people in negative equity or who need to release the cash from their homes quickly.

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