HMO management is hard work at the best of times. But it’s been a whole lot trickier throughout COVID-19! This virulent virus has infected over 1.6 million people in the UK to date, forced the entire nation into lockdown (twice) and put jobs and incomes at risk along the way.

Needless to say, it’s been a tricky and tumultuous time for everyone- especially landlords, for whom financial and practical problems have come thick and fast.

Among the many uncertainties that have arisen, though, few have been more pressing than keeping tenants safe! Are you an HMO landlord looking for advice on how to do exactly that? Keep reading for 5 top tips that should make a difference.

1. Maintain Good Communication

Maintaining an ongoing dialogue with your tenants is a great place to start. This could be as simple as sending an occasional text to see how they’re doing! Aside from being a nice gesture that’ll make them feel more supported, it enables you to stay on top of any issues and respond to their questions from afar.

On a similar note, it’s more important than ever that you contact tenants (especially vulnerable ones) before going around to handle maintenance issues. Giving them enough forewarning means you can a) find out if they’re unwell and b) put protective measures in place to keep your distance while still doing your duties as an HMO landlord.

2. Stay Abreast of Rules and Regulations

One thing that hasn’t changed during COVID-19 is the legal obligation for landlords to provide tenants with a safe and habitable place to live. However, the tier systems and lockdown regulations have muddied the waters in terms of what’s currently permitted for routine safety inspections, repairs and maintenance.

As it stands, the GOV.UK website states that “landlords can take steps to carry out repairs and safety inspections…provided these are undertaken in line with public health advice and the relevant coronavirus legislation”.Stay up-to-date with those rules and regulations, then, and you should be able to support your tenants without breaking any laws.

3. Be Fair With Finances

Coronavirus has been responsible for huge numbers of business closures and redundancies. The result? Money’s awfully tight for a lot of people right now! Including, perhaps, some of your leaseholders.

If you wish to support tenants’ mental and emotional wellbeing too, then taking steps to reduce their financial burden would be a great way to do it. For example, you could work out repayment plans to help people who go into arrears, postpone any planned rent increases, and sign post tenants to appropriate monetary support (such as Universal Credit).

4. Provide Cleaning Services

Thoroughly cleaning your hands and surfaces at home is one of the best ways to stay safe during Coronavirus. But you’re a landlord, not a babysitter! It’s not your job to remind tenants to maintain high standards of personal hygiene all the time.

However, you could think about paying a professional cleaner to service common areas in the HMO. Deep cleaning the bathroom, living room, and kitchen on a regular basis will eradicate any germs and give your tenants a far better chance of remaining virus-free.

5. Provide Cleaning Equipment

Another way to enhance the sanitary conditions within your HMO could be to stock it up with essential cleaning supplies.

After all, by saving your tenants the hassle and expense of buying these supplies for themselves, there should be less excuse not to do the housework! With any luck, they’ll organize a rota and all chip into maintain the cleanliness of communal areas.

Remember These HMO Management Tips During COVID-19

Coronavirus has made HMO management even more challenging than it is usually! Suddenly, alongside your usual roles and responsibilities as landlord, you have newly unemployed tenants that can’t pay rent, laws that make evictions off-limits, and lockdown restrictions that complicate, well…everything.

More than anything else, though, you want to keep everybody safe. It’s our sincere hope that the tips in this post will help you succeed in this regard. Bear them in mind in the coming months and your tenants are sure to be better off as a result.

Are you trying to find new tenants during this challenging period? Our professional HMO marketing service can help. Contact us today to find out how.