HMO, otherwise known as "house of multiple occupation", is when three or more non-related people live in the same property and share areas like the bathroom and kitchen. The concept has been around forever but is growing in popularity in big cities like London, where rents are some of the most expensive in the UK.
Living in an HMO can be a great way to save some money on the rent while getting to know new people. And in this guide we've put together the need-to-know about HMO. So read on and decide if this way of renting is right for you.
What is HMO?
An HMO is a property where at least three renters form more than one household (eg, you don't live there with your family). You'll share the toilet, bathroom and kitchen facilities, and maybe even the living room if there is one (some landlords convert it into an extra bedroom).
If at least five renters live in the property, then you've got yourself a Large HMO. From your point of view, it doesn't really matter if it's a regular or large HMO. However, the landlord will need a licence if it's the latter and perhaps even if it's a regular HMO depending on the council where the property is located.
Advantages of living in an HMO
There are many benefits to living in an HMO if you're a renter, and most of us live in a home that we share with others at some point in our lives (hello, students). Here are some of the pros if you're living in an HMO:
You'll be hard-pressed to find a flat in London for below £1,000 per month – and that's before you even consider the bills. Living in an HMO is a great way to save on the rent and utilities, with the latter typically included in the monthly rental price.
Living with others means that everyone needs to chip in, so you don't have to worry about being the only person tasked with keeping the place clean. A cleaning rota will allow renters to share the load, so everyone has an equal responsibility when it comes to cleaning.
Professionally managed property
The majority of HMOs are professionally managed, either by the landlord or a managing agent. That means you should get repairs and maintenance issues attended to without any significant problems and can enjoy less hassle and more convenience.
Disadvantages of living in an HMO
Ok, so we've got the pros, but what about the cons of living in an HMO? It's only fair to look at both sides of the story. Here are some of the disadvantages to living in an HMO and sharing the space with others:
Lack of privacy
They'll be no walking around your house naked in the morning when you live in an HMO. Privacy is lacking outside of your bedroom, which means you'll need to get used to living in a social space.
Cleaning rotas and the like sound great, but they only work when everyone buys in. The whole plan kind of falls flat on its face if someone isn't pulling their weight, and it can cause friction in the house.
Are there any alternatives?
HMO is a great way to embrace social living, but it's not the only option. A growing number of Co-Living spaces are popping up in major cities like London and Manchester. Much like an HMO, Co-Living sees you share spaces like lounges and kitchens, but it all takes place in a professional setup.
That means social spaces usually have a gym, co-working areas, and maybe even cinema and games' rooms. Renters also get their own room, usually with a bathroom included, and privacy if they want it. Co-Living tends to be more expensive than an HMO, but it offers a more professional living experience and can be a great alternative.
Living in an HMO
Choosing to live in an HMO can be a smart move if you're looking to save money and enjoy meeting and living with new people. In our opinion, the pros outweigh the cons, and you can make new friends and create lasting memories during the HMO chapter of your life.