It is Monday morning (pre coffee and breakfast I might add) and at approximately 9:15am I have a call from a gentleman who has recently purchased a 3 bedroom property in Cowley, Oxford.
'What will it rent for Richard?' he asks. My suspicions are immediately aroused by this question as I would have hoped my new investor friend might have had an idea on that front which presumably is part of the reason they decided to buy it!
'Well that depends on how you wish to rent it sir' I replied. 'In what respect'? he asked me, clearly puzzled by the question.
'Well will you be looking for it to be a family home or will you go for sharers and an HMO licence'?
Now at this stage it is still quite common to hear replies such as 'Whichever is easier' or 'How do you get and HMO licence?' or my personal favourite 'What is an HMO'??
In brief an HMO is a 'House in multiple occupation'. It is a mandatory requirement for properties with 3 or more people who are not members of the same family. Most significantly for all you Oxford folks it does apply to all property under this criteria sitting within Oxford District Council.
Everything in this world has its pro's and con's and HMO licensing is no different, but recent demand for professional sharers in Oxford makes the opportunity of obtaining and HMO licence way too hard for landlords to ignore.
In recent times such has been the mad clamber for a decently appointed houses offering to 3 or more sharers that in some instances properties are letting way in excess of their asking price and within hours of coming to market. Examples include:
- Bullingdon Road, Cowley - Rent £1300. Achieved - £1650
- Dene Road, Headington - Rent £1650. Achieved - £1800
So today folks my advice comes from three fold:
- For those unfamiliar with HMO licensing and what it entails - seek me out and I will enlighten you.
- For the investment buyer, buying a property - consider HMO licensing. Find out more about it. Ask me. Does the property you are buying have sharers in the property already or is it a family home? Does it already have a licence? What is the current rent? What could it be?
- For those landlords with a property not let to sharers - bottom line is that if your property heavily lends itself to families and you are acheiving optimum rent there is little sense in changing. But if you would like to know more of what is involved then call me and I will bring you up to speed.
The point of this post is to highlight the benefits of obtaining an HMO licence or at the very least asking enough questions to make an informed decision on which way to offer your property. It is not the hassle and unnecessary inconvenience that people would have you believe. Infact obtaining a licence has never been easier. There are hoops to jump through if you go down this route but my, oh my, the long term financial rewards are there for the taking if it is given proper consideration rather than dismissing it out of hand.
'An HMO licence can be the difference between £1300 and £1600 Mr landlord' I said.
Oxford City Council now awaits its latest application.