HMO Checklist for Student Landlords

22nd Feb 2023

If you’re a landlord considering renting out your property to students then did you know it will technically be classed as an HMO (Houses of Multiple Occupation)?

If you decide to set off on the HMO journey and rent out to students, then there’s a few things you need to get in order beforehand.

That’s why we’ve put together an HMO checklist for student landlords, to make the process that much easier for you.

1.    Obtain an HMO Licence

A highly recommended first step is to ask your local authority about specific requirements when it comes to your HMO property.

Be aware that the rules in England and Wales about HMO properties differ from those in Scotland and Northern Ireland. You will definitely need a licence if:

  • your property houses five or more tenants
  • the tenants live separately but share communal facilities like kitchens and toilets, as in most student houses.

There may also be other paperwork that is legally required before you start, and things to consider like the legally mandated minimum bedroom sizes. Another very important thing on every HMO checklist for student landlords is the legal obligations surrounding full gas and safety checks. You must complete a full Fire Risk Assessment carried out by a qualified professional. You must also fit fireproof doors, provide a fire blanket in the kitchen and smoke alarms throughout the property.

2.    Keep Your Students in the Loop


It’s a good idea to set up a noticeboard with all the fire procedures and health and safety information (such as a copy of the gas safety certificate and energy performance certificate), as well as emergency contact details.

You should also include any relevant information about the landlord or manager of the property. Be sure to inform the student tenants of the rubbish and recycling collection days.

Little things like this will make life easier for everyone, and remember that you’re dealing with students so this is probably their first time living independently. That means they might need a bit more guidance than the average tenant.


3.    Make sure all appliances are in working order


Next on our HMO checklist for student landlords - make sure that the house is livable. All tenants, including student tenants, have expectations and needs to be met when they choose to live in a property.

One very obvious expectation is that everything in the HMO student property is in working order and in good condition.

Furniture and appliances like washing machines, kettles and cookers need to be fully functioning before the student tenancy agreement is signed.

4.    Cut keys for everyone

One small but very important thing to remember on this HMO checklist for student landlords is to have enough keys cut for every student for the main building.

You’ll also need separate keys for their individual bedrooms. Most people usually appreciate having locks on their bedrooms to ensure the security of their possessions and valuables.

Don’t forget to get a spare set of keys cut for yourself.

5.    Install high-speed wireless broadband


This one is essential these days, and any university student will expect their home to come fully equipped with wifi.

Most students rely on internet access for their study sessions and research, so securing a good, strong Internet connection is an obvious must-do on our HMO checklist for student landlords.

On that note, it’s generally good practice not to mix tenants from different stages of life. For instance, a postgraduate student on work placement may not appreciate a property share with an undergraduate student who stays up all night partying.

Try to be specific when advertising the property about what age group and demographic you want to attract.  If you’d like to talk to someone about how to attract your ideal tenants, our Thornley Groves friendly team members are always happy to help.


6.    Spruce up the property

Get the property spick and span before taking viewings - you want to make the right impression. Consider hiring a cleaner for the communal spaces to take care of them on a regular basis.

When organising viewings, it’s super important that the house is well-decorated and looks attractive. They may be student tenants but they still want to see some furniture and maybe even some nice finishing touches like some flowers.


7.    Take professional photos

Set off on the right foot by showcasing the best aspects of your property with some attractive photos.

Photos should be well-lit and high resolution so it’s not advisable to take pictures on your mobile phone. Even the best phone cameras probably won’t be adequate to represent your property to its full potential.

8.    Get your paperwork in order

This point is an essential one on our HMO checklist for student landlords.

You absolutely must sort out all your paperwork to lay down the terms and conditions for your tenants.

Having everyone know where they stand, what their rights are, and having some rules to follow, is crucial to protect both landlord and student tenant.

You should be thinking about the tenancy agreement, guarantor forms, and inventory forms. As a specialist HMO Agency, Thornley Groves can handle all the paperwork for you.

9.    Use an HMO management service

Self-managing is an option, but having a specialist team to manage the process and talk you through the HMO checklist for student landlords can save a lot of time and hassle.

Here at Thornley Groves, we are happy to help. We offer full support services led by our professional teams who are trained and qualified to industry-recognised standards.

Our dedicated teams can ensure that rent payments and deposits are taken care of and facilitate all of the paperwork, from tenancy agreements to drawing up contracts.

With us, the whole property management experience is tailored to suit your needs. From initial valuation to viewings to property maintenance - we offer a comprehensive package of services that will give you peace of mind and security throughout the HMO student letting process.

If you have any questions, get in touch with our team of dedicated professionals today to find out how Thornley Groves can help you.