Why Use an HMO Letting Agent?

HMO letting agent

If you’re a self-managing HMO landlord, you might have concerns about whether using an agent is the right choice for you. You may worry that an agent won’t perform well, or that the costs involved might outweigh the benefits. However, finding a good HMO letting agent can often give you peace of mind, save you time, reduce stress, ensure compliance and often boost profitability. Let’s explore the pros and cons of using an agent, why choosing a specialist HMO letting agent is crucial, and how to find the right one for your needs.

Why Consider an HMO Letting Agent?

Managing an HMO can be particularly demanding compared to managing a single let. Here’s why you might consider using an HMO letting agent:

Time and Stress Management

Managing an HMO involves regular inspections, maintenance, and dealing with tenant issues. An HMO letting agent can take on these tasks, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your life or business, reducing stress and giving you back your time.

Expertise and Compliance

HMO regulations are complex and ever-changing. A specialist HMO letting agent will have in-depth knowledge of these rules, ensuring your property remains compliant with local licensing requirements and national legislation, preventing costly fines and legal issues.

Tenant Management

Finding and retaining good tenants is crucial for maintaining steady rental income. An experienced HMO letting agent will have effective processes for vetting potential tenants, reducing the risk of problem tenants and handling disputes professionally.

Emergency Callouts – Delegated to your HMO Letting Agent

One significant pain for self-managing landlords is dealing with out-of-hours emergencies. Whether it’s a burst pipe in the middle of the night or a broken boiler in the winter, being available 24/7 for emergency call outs can be incredibly stressful and disruptive. An HMO letting agent will have systems in place to handle emergencies promptly, providing peace of mind for both you and your tenants.

High Workload Management

At times, the workload for managing an HMO can be overwhelming, and you may not have the capacity to handle everything. This can lead to void rooms, expired certificates, escalating maintenance issues, or tenants leaving. An HMO letting agent has a team of experts, each experienced and focused on delivering their objectives, ensuring that no aspect of property management is neglected.

What to Look for in an HMO Letting Agent

When selecting an HMO letting agent in Manchester, it’s important to consider specific criteria to ensure you choose the right one. Here are some key factors to look out for:

Specialisation in HMO Management

Look for agents who specialise in HMO properties and have a proven track record. This ensures they are familiar with the specific needs and challenges associated with HMOs.

Strong Local Knowledge

An HMO letting agent with extensive knowledge of the Manchester property market will be better positioned to attract suitable tenants and manage local regulations, helping in setting competitive rental prices and marketing your property effectively.

Transparent Fees and Services

Understand what you’re paying for. Look for agents who offer transparent pricing and a clear breakdown of their services, ensuring no hidden costs.

Positive Reviews and References

Check online reviews and ask for references from other landlords. Positive feedback from existing clients is a good indicator of an HMO letting agent’s reliability and performance.

Questions to Ask a Prospective HMO Letting Agent

Before hiring an HMO letting agent, ask several important questions to gauge their suitability:

  • What is your experience with HMOs?
  • How do you handle conflicts between tenants?
  • How do you ensure compliance ALL of the time?
  • What is your marketing strategy?
  • How often do you review rents?
  • How do you manage client money? what scheme are you a member of?
  • Which property ombudsman are you a member of?
  • Do you carry out photographic inventories before and after a tenancy?
  • How do you manage weekly/monthly testing of fire alarms and emergency lighting?
  • How often do you do communal cleans and what does the scope include?
  • Do you carry out regular room inspections with a 24-point photographic checklist?
  • What is your occupancy rate right now?
  • How do you ask your tenants and landlords for feedback?
  • What is your maintenance policy?
  • Do you communicate a set of house rules throughout the tenant journey?
  • Do you provide a tenant welcome pack?

The Importance of Choosing a Specialist HMO Letting Agent

Working with a specialist HMO letting agent in Manchester, like Confidence Property, offers a distinct advantage over a general letting agent:

In-depth Regulatory Knowledge

Specialist HMO letting agents are well-versed in the specific legal requirements of HMO properties, reducing the risk of non-compliance and associated penalties.

Tailored HMO Letting Agent Services

Specialist letting agents provide services tailored to the unique needs of HMO landlords, ensuring your property is managed efficiently and effectively.

Enhanced Tenant Relationships

Specialist HMO letting agents are skilled in managing the dynamics of multiple tenants, fostering positive tenant relationships, leading to longer tenancies and fewer disputes.

At Confidence Property, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive HMO management services tailored to meet the unique needs of HMO landlords. Our local expertise, transparent pricing, and dedicated tenant management systems ensure your HMO is in safe hands. With our professional approach, you can enjoy the benefits of HMO ownership without the stress and time commitment of self-management.

Are you Ready to Go Stress-Free?

If you’re ready to experience the benefits of professional HMO management, we’re here to help! Click the button below to book a discovery call. This is a friendly chat to learn more about each other and discuss how we can help you manage your HMO property more effectively.

Book My Discovery Call

Manchester SpareRoom Enquiries – Leads Drying Up?

manchester spareroom

Summer is here! Is the drought of tenant enquiries over? If you’re an HMO landlord in Manchester, you might have noticed a significant drop in enquiries on SpareRoom this year. The rise of purpose-built co-living spaces, such as Union by Vita Group, could be a key factor affecting the traditional house share market. With the opening of Union’s new development in Manchester city centre, offering modern amenities and a vibrant community, traditional HMO landlords might be feeling the pressure.

The Rise of Co-Living in Manchester

Co-living is reshaping the rental landscape in Manchester. Union’s new development, with 870 bedrooms and an additional 806 planned for 2025, epitomises this trend. These high-quality 1-3 bed co-living apartments come equipped with co-working spaces, an on-site gym, and a flatmate matching service, making them highly attractive to young professionals.

The increasing popularity of co-living is driven by the need for flexible and affordable living options, particularly among millennials and young professionals. The ability to rent for as little as one month provides a practical solution for those seeking flexibility and a community-focused lifestyle.

The Impact on Traditional House Shares

With the emergence of purpose-built co-living spaces like Union, traditional HMO landlords are facing new challenges. The modern amenities and community-centric features offered by co-living developments are highly appealing to young professionals looking for a house share in Manchester city centre. The convenience of having everything from fitness facilities to social spaces within the same building adds a significant level of attraction.

This shift in preference is evident in the statistics. Union currently has 101 adverts on Manchester SpareRoom, equating to about 400 rooms, with prices ranging from £945 to £1140. These figures suggest that many potential tenants are opting for the enhanced living experience provided by co-living spaces over traditional house shares.

Should HMO Landlords Be Worried?

The question of whether HMO landlords should be worried about the rise of co-living spaces elicits varied opinions. Here are some perspectives based on recent discussions among landlords and industry professionals:

Different Market Segments

Many argue that co-living spaces like Union cater to a different segment of the market compared to traditional HMOs, particularly those in the suburbs. For example, en suite rooms in Salford typically rent for £650-£750, while Union’s rooms are priced higher at £945-£1140. This price difference suggests that co-living developments target tenants with higher budgets, often those who might currently be renting studio or one-bedroom flats at even higher prices, such as £1,200+.

Location-Specific Demand

The success of co-living spaces may be limited to city centre locations where there is a high population density and ample job opportunities that justify the inclusion of amenities like co-working spaces. Outside of city centres, where Article 4 directions might restrict the proliferation of HMOs anyway, the demand for such high-end co-living spaces might not be as strong.

Competition for Quality Properties

There is consensus that co-living spaces will compete with high-quality HMOs and studio flats in or near the city centre. These properties typically attract young professionals who value convenience and modern amenities, which are precisely what co-living spaces offer. Therefore, landlords with properties in these prime locations might feel the competitive pressure more acutely.

Tenant Overlap

While tenants who rent rooms at £650-£750 might be able to afford the higher prices of co-living spaces, this overlap is likely not significant enough to cause a major shift in the market. However, the presence of co-living spaces does introduce more choice for tenants, which can affect demand dynamics for traditional HMOs.

What HMO Landlords Can Do About Reduced Manchester SpareRoom Enquiries?

If you’re a HMO landlord noticing a drop in SpareRoom enquiries, there are several strategies you can implement to boost your listings’ visibility and appeal, helping you survive the drought and minimise voids.

Create a Waiting List

Establishing a waiting list can help manage tenant interest and ensure you have potential tenants lined up when rooms become available. This proactive approach keeps your properties occupied and reduces vacancy periods.

Conduct a Market Rent Review

Regularly review the market rent by comparing at least 10 similar properties and recent lets. This will help you establish a competitive and attractive rental price for your listings, ensuring you attract more enquiries.

Update Manchester SpareRoom Adverts Daily

Keep your listings fresh by updating them daily. This practice keeps your ads at the top of search results, increasing their visibility and the likelihood of enquiries.

Consider Featured Ads

Investing in featured ads can significantly boost your listings’ exposure. Featured ads appear at the top of search results and attract more views, leading to higher enquiry rates.

Write a Killer Manchester SpareRoom Ad

Crafting a compelling SpareRoom ad is crucial. Highlight the key features of your property, such as location, amenities, and unique selling points. Use high-quality photos and include detailed descriptions to give potential tenants a clear understanding of what to expect. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Headline: Create an attention-grabbing headline that includes essential information like the number of bedrooms and key features.
  • Description: Provide a detailed description of the property, including amenities, location benefits, and any special features.
  • Photos: Use high-quality images that showcase the property’s best aspects. Ensure the rooms are clean and well-lit.
  • Call to Action: Encourage potential tenants to contact you for viewings or more information.

Speed to Lead – Jump on Those Manchester SpareRoom Messages!

In the competitive rental market, responding promptly to enquiries is crucial. Studies have shown that the faster you respond to a potential tenant’s enquiry, the more likely you are to secure a viewing and, ultimately, a tenancy. Here are some tips for improving your speed to lead:

  • Immediate Responses: Aim to respond to enquiries within minutes, if possible. Use automated response tools if you can’t always be available.
  • Flexible Viewing Times: Offer flexible viewing times, including evenings and weekends, to accommodate the schedules of prospective tenants.
  • Follow-Up: If a potential tenant shows interest but doesn’t immediately commit, follow up with them to keep the conversation going and address any concerns they may have.

Or… Work with a Trusted HMO Partner

Managing a successful HMO can be time-consuming and challenging, especially with the increasing competition from purpose-built co-living spaces. At Confidence Property, we specialise in managing house shares and ensuring high occupancy rates. Our proactive approach to HMO Lettings includes implementing strategies to optimise rents and minimise vacancies, ensuring that your investment yields the highest possible return.

By choosing Confidence Property, you can relax with peace of mind knowing that we’re doing the hard work for you. We won’t rest until we’ve found you a great tenant!

Book a FREE HMO Rent Valuation

✅ Expert local knowledge from our Lettings Negotiator
✅ Rent Review Spreadsheet specific to your HMO
✅ Market Rent value for each room
✅ 10 SpareRoom comparables with advert links

HMO Fire Risk Assessments – Are You Compliant?

HMO Fire Risk Assessments

Ensuring the safety of tenants in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) is not just a moral obligation but a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Housing Act 2004. Regular HMO fire risk assessments are essential to maintain compliance with fire safety regulations and protect residents from potential fire hazards.

Understanding Fire Risks in HMOs

HMOs are unique in their structure and occupancy, often housing multiple tenants who share common areas. This increases the complexity of fire safety management. Properties that fall under the HMO category have at least three tenants forming more than one household, and larger HMOs (three or more storeys or housing five or more tenants) require a licence.

Legal Framework and Responsibilities

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (Article 9) and the Housing Act 2004*, landlords or managing agents (referred to as the “Responsible Person”) are required to carry out comprehensive fire risk assessments. This assessment must be suitable, sufficient, and regularly reviewed to account for any changes in the property or its use.

*While the Housing Act 2004 itself does not explicitly state that a fire risk assessment must be conducted, the requirement for ensuring that HMOs meet fire safety standards effectively mandates such assessments

Conducting HMO Fire Risk Assessments

Step-by-Step Approach

  1. Identifying Hazards: Examine potential fire hazards like faulty electrical systems, flammable materials, and blocked escape routes.
  2. Evaluating Risks: Assess the level of risk associated with each hazard, classifying them as low, medium, or high.
  3. Implementing Safety Measures: Install necessary fire safety equipment and ensure escape routes are clear.
  4. Educational Responsibilities: Provide tenants with information on emergency procedures.
  5. Regular Review and Update: Continuously review and update fire safety measures to reflect changes in the property.

Regular Reviews and Updates of HMO Fire Risk Assessments

Fire risk assessments should be reviewed at least annually or whenever significant changes occur in the property. This ensures that all fire safety measures remain effective and up to date with current regulations. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

Why is a Fire Risk Assessment Required in an HMO but Not a Single Let?

Increased Complexity and Risk in HMOs

HMOs inherently carry higher fire risks compared to single-let properties due to several factors:

  1. Multiple Households: HMOs accommodate multiple unrelated tenants who may have different lifestyles and habits, increasing the likelihood of fire hazards such as unattended cooking or smoking indoors.
  2. Shared Facilities: Common areas like kitchens, living rooms, and corridors are shared by all tenants, creating higher foot traffic and more opportunities for fire to start and spread.
  3. Fire Safety Equipment: More complex fire safety measures are required in HMOs, including multiple smoke alarms, heat detectors, fire doors, and emergency lighting, which need regular inspection and maintenance.
  4. Escape Routes: Ensuring clear and accessible escape routes is more challenging in HMOs due to the number of tenants and the complexity of the building layout.

Who Should Carry Out HMO Fire Risk Assessments?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 specifies that a fire risk assessment must be carried out by a “competent person.” This means someone with the necessary training, knowledge, and experience to identify fire hazards and implement appropriate safety measures.


Landlords may choose to conduct fire risk assessments themselves to save costs and maintain direct control over the process. However, this approach requires thorough knowledge of fire safety regulations and significant time commitment. If the assessment is inadequate, landlords could face severe legal repercussions in the event of a fire.


Managing agents can perform fire risk assessments on behalf of landlords. This option provides a balance between cost and expertise, as agents are often familiar with property regulations. However, it is crucial to ensure that the agent has the necessary fire safety knowledge and experience to conduct a comprehensive assessment.

Fire Protection Company

Hiring a fire protection company might seem convenient, but it can present a conflict of interest. These companies might have a vested interest in identifying issues that they can subsequently charge to fix. This could lead to unnecessary expenses for the landlord.

Independent Fire Risk Assessor

Engaging an independent fire risk assessor is often the best option for an unbiased and thorough evaluation. Independent assessors bring specialised knowledge, stay updated with the latest regulations, and provide peace of mind that all safety measures are genuinely necessary and not driven by profit. This approach ensures compliance and enhances tenant safety without the risk of conflicts of interest. At Confidence Property we work with a Competent Fire Risk Assessor accredited with the Nationally Accredited Fire Risk Assessors Register.


Regular fire risk assessments are crucial for ensuring the safety of tenants in HMOs and maintaining compliance with legal requirements. By understanding the unique fire risks associated with HMOs and implementing comprehensive safety measures, landlords can create a safe living environment.

HMO Fire Risk Assessments – have you had one done within the last 12 months?

If not, then you are not compliant and risk fines and prosecution.

Take action now and book a FREE Q&A call with our friendly HMO expert.