Self-managing HMO property: 5 unique methods

The biggest challenges when self-managing an HMO

Well, there are many things that can go wrong when self-managing the HMO property without much experience, but some of the most overwhelming issues for the landlords are the never-ending tenant communication and the ongoing maintenance of the communal areas.

Since the communal areas are shared, you will likely get a phone call every time the light bulb burns out, the Internet is too slow or someone left some dirty dishes in the sink. 

Here are 5 dos and don’ts when self-managing an HMO property.

Ongoing tenant communication when self-managing an HMO property.

1. Systemize and automate as much as possible

Systematizing maintenance tasks in communal areas is one of the most useful steps you can take when managing an HMO property. Knowing what is happening at the property is so important. Getting photos from your regular housekeeper, testing fire alarms, keeping a spare toolbox and some light bulbs at the property, sending automated reminders about the bin collection dates, rent payment dates, and house policies, managing the use of energy and many many more. These are all issues that you will need to repetitively address when self-managing your HMO.

Hence it is so crucial to automate those messages as much as possible. Realistically, the biggest time and energy investment is at the very beginning when setting up your HMO property. This would be creating all your automated email templates, policies, and house rules, but once that is all sorted, the day-to-day management will be much easier. 

2. Tailored communication channels for various concerns

I have seen many landlords creating WhatsApp groups to manage tenant communication but this is just a way to encourage your tenants to complain about every smallest thing and even complain about each other’s day-to-day life habits. I would strongly recommend setting up an online link where tenants can submit any maintenance enquiries as well as creating a separate email address which tenants can use to contact you for any other queries besides maintenance.

3. Bespoke HMO management app

My best recommendation, however, would be to sign up for a bespoke HMO management app that already provides solutions for submitting maintenance issues and tenant communication.

4. Grow your network of local tradespeople

The next thing that I would recommend if you are self-managing your HMO property, is to get to know local tradespeople, for example, local plumbers, electricians and builders. 

Check out the notice boards in local corner shops, and ask your friends if they know any good tradespeople in the area. And if possible, attend some local business networking groups where local tradespeople would usually attend. 

This way you always have a list of people to contact when needed. 

5. Emergency action plan: be ready for anything

Another thing to consider when self-managing your HMO property is to have an action plan in case of an emergency. If you work full-time and cannot always pick up the phone, you might need to consider a plan for scenarios like water leaks, no heating, electrical emergencies or even fire. These are the situations that have to be dealt with immediately and having a person you can rely on who can help to sort these out is essential. 

In summary, being prepared by getting things set up and systemised from the very beginning will save you lots of time and stress later on when things can get more complicated…