Location: Gibbon Road, London, SE15
At HMO Letting Agent, we thrive on the opportunity to transform residential homes into lucrative Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). One of our more challenging projects involved the conversion of a three-bedroom family home into a five-bedroom HMO in Southwark, demonstrating our ability to navigate complex regulations and property structures.
Overcoming Space Limitations
Our initial challenge was a bedroom that failed to meet HMO size regulations. Our solution involved knocking down an internal wall, reducing the size of the adjacent master bedroom, yet maintaining its appeal. The alteration allowed us to convert the previously too-small room into a habitable bedroom, thus increasing the property’s rental income.
Ensuring safety is a top priority, we installed fire alarms and fire doors throughout the property, adhering strictly to the regulations for HMO properties.
Legal and Regulatory Challenges
Navigating Southwark Council’s HMO regulations provided its own set of challenges. Despite our efforts, the council initially refused to permit us to use the downstairs bedroom, which led to the lounge and garden, as a bedroom in their licensing conditions.
Adding to this was the council’s oversight in their communication. They granted us a grace period until the 15th of the month (five months post their inspection) to contest their conditions, yet we only received their license on the 10th, leaving us with an unfairly tight turnaround. We lodged a complaint regarding this issue.
Armed with the Lacors Fire Safety Guide, we contested the council’s conditions. The guide specifically references inner rooms in clause 12.2. As the contested bedroom was on the ground floor, had an automatic fire detection system, and was separated from the outer room with a fire-resisting door, it met all stipulated safety criteria.
We also communicated our intent to appeal their conditions via the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) unless they reconsidered their decision.
The council ultimately agreed to let us use the bedroom but asked us to install a sprinkler system. However, they did not provide specifics, leaving us unsure about the system’s requirements. In response, we arranged an independent fire risk assessment, which confirmed the bedroom’s habitability and did not indicate a need for sprinklers.
Following our proactive advocacy and third-party assessment, the council agreed to our terms, demonstrating our persistence and commitment to creating optimal, compliant HMOs.
Finally, we received the HMO licence and swiftly moved onto letting and managing the property, achieving a monthly rental income of over £4300.
This case study exemplifies HMO Letting Agent’s tenacity in overcoming challenges and commitment to turning regular homes into high-yielding HMOs, ensuring comfortable living spaces for tenants and substantial returns for property owners.