House Share / HMO Harmony; Establishing the Rules

Living in a shared household can be a fascinating experience. The opportunity to be infused into meeting and living with new people and new cultures is more than guaranteed to develop invaluable life experiences.

If you’re managing a house share (technically known as a House in Multiple Occupation) and looking to see both the tenants and the property thrive, then it does no harm to ensure some basic ground rules are set in place before commencing on filling the occupancy. 

Communication is key to many aspects of life, and house shares are certainly one of those. Whether you’re starting from the ground up with an empty property ready to go, or currently have full occupancy already in place, asserting rules in house shares can pave the foundations for amicable and hassle free tenancies.

The lease

Rooms in house shares can come in many different shapes and sizes, and the rental figures tend to reflect that. Regardless of who pays what for their room however, all tenants have equal rights in the household. If everyone is a signatory to the lease, they are equally responsible for paying their share of the rent and looking after the bond.

Utilities and bills

If you’re looking to have the tenants foot the bill for usages such as gas, electric and heating. then this should be communicated prior to commencing any tenancies; ideally on the property advert. Set out how the payments should be split, when they are due and how they should be paid. If there are restrictions on internet usage then these should also be clearly outlined.

Property maintenance

You should always document the state of any property prior to a move-in, preferably through a thorough photographic inventory. This means that should any damage occur to the property by the actions of the tenants, you’ll be covered. State the expectations for how the property is to be treated and cared for, and that should any damage occur by the tenants, they’ll be the ones having to foot the bill. Communal area damage should be fairly distributed amongst all tenants, whilst any damage carried out in individual rooms can fall to the occupant’s responsibility.

Shared cleanliness responsibilities

Some landlords opt to hire a cleaner to visit their house shares or HMO’s to clean and tidy any communal areas in the property. Whether you choose this option or not, it is still ideal to remind tenants that they are responsible for the upholding of cleanliness throughout the property. This includes general clutter, through to taking out the bins for collection. It can be beneficial to source the collection dates and types, and ensure they are displayed in the communal areas for all tenant’s viewing.

Visitors and ‘additional occpuants’

After settling in to their new home, it’ll be somewhat inevitable that tenants will want to bring over guests – be it friends, family or significant other halves. But when those extra heads in the household start becoming part-time or almost even full-time occupants without offering their share of contributions, it won’t be seen as fair to the other tenants and forms the basis for a negative atmosphere within the property. Not only that, but the ground can become shaky with regulations if for example you were to occupy a 4 bedroom house share with additional unaccounted for tenants not on the tenancy agreement.

If you’re looking for advice when it comes to managing House Shares, property management Manchester, or HMO’s, then feel free to get in touch. With over 50 shared rooms and HMO’s in the North West and growing, we’ll be more than happy to help.


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