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HMO Property Management Case Study

Part 1: Transfer from past property manager to Prem Property

Introduction
From derelict to desirable! The story of a 32-bed HMO

The Walsall HMO was developed by enterprising landlords who had a vision. The vision is now a reality. From a derelict hotel came four houses, which are now home to 32 professional tenants. This is the story of how Prem Property managed to navigate through challenges to achieve success for the largest residential HMO property in Walsall.
 

Prem Property is an innovative property management and guaranteed rent specialist operating in the West Midlands area. We secure landlords guaranteed hassle-free rental income on their portfolio and property management services for professional HMOs.

Prem Property assumed the responsibility of managing an HMO property following the former manager's transition into a different industry. This strategic shift provided us with a unique opening to introduce a renewed perspective and implement proactive HMO property management strategies to effectively address the array of challenges confronting the property.

This venture marked a noteworthy milestone for our team, particularly in light of our prior expertise, which had been primarily focused on overseeing HMO management limited to a maximum of 6 bedrooms. The transition to the oversight of four distinct houses, each spanning between 5 and 11 bedrooms, represented a substantial expansion of our operational scope. Rather than shying away from the inherent complexities, we enthusiastically embraced this opportunity, recognising it as a momentous step forward in our journey.

Navigating this transition became a pivotal and character-defining phase for our business, necessitating a heightened level of resilience and adaptability. Our commitment to overcoming challenges head-on and our unwavering dedication to proactive management have become integral elements that define our approach to property management in this new and dynamic landscape.

Part 2: Existing Issues in Houses of Multiple Occupation

Upon assuming management, and given that this is a house of multiple occupations, Prem Property Management encountered a series of pressing issues plaguing the property. These included:

Dangerous Tenants:

 

Upon assuming management of the property, we encountered a situation involving two adjacent tenants engaging in activities that posed substantial risks to the overall safety and well-being of everyone within the premises.

Regrettably, these individuals were not only partaking in illicit drug activities but were also openly conducting such affairs on-site. Their association with individuals of questionable character who would frequent the property to partake in these activities raised significant alarm. The introduction of such unsavoury characters not only compromised the security of the property but also created an environment where illicit substances were being consumed and potentially traded within the premises.

This precarious scenario presented a considerable challenge for me as the property manager and, more importantly, for the residents who found themselves surrounded by such disruptive behavior. The residents, understandably, expressed deep dissatisfaction and unease, rightfully concerned about the potential dangers associated with these activities transpiring in their immediate surroundings.

Addressing and rectifying this situation became an urgent priority, as it not only jeopardised the reputation of the property but, more crucially, compromised the safety and peace of mind of the tenants. The need to swiftly and decisively deal with these dangerous tenants became paramount to ensuring the well-being and tranquilly of the entire community residing on the property.

Rent Arrears:

 

Upon our intervention, we uncovered a substantial sum exceeding £10,000 in rent arrears distributed among 32 tenants. This financial hurdle arose from neglect in the prior management's oversight, where approximately 10 tenants each accumulated arrears surpassing £10,000. The lapse in proactive rent management and communication allowed the issue to persist, fostering a situation where tenants conversed among themselves, perpetuating the notion that rent enforcement was lax. The resultant ripple effect emphasised the critical need for a comprehensive and diligent approach to property management.

A graph depicting a significant drop in rent arrears from April 2021 to December 2023, showcasing the positive impact of Prem Property's intervention in managing HMO properties

Low Occupancy Rates:

The property, situated on Bescot Road, faced persistently low occupancy rates stemming from ongoing refurbishments. During the transitional period, approximately six rooms were either under renovation or deemed unsuitable for occupancy. Consequently, this contributed to suboptimal occupancy rates. Furthermore, even among the available rooms in the HMO house, a portion remained vacant, and those occupied were not yielding the anticipated rents for the area.

Upon assuming management responsibilities, we recognised the imperative of addressing these challenges. Our comprehensive analysis revealed that the HMO house’s financial viability was adversely affected by the combined impact of ongoing repairs, rooms undergoing maintenance, and a generally lower yield.

Recognising the need for swift action, we prioritised the reactivation of inactive rooms. By aligning our strategy with prevailing market rates in the area, we aimed to position our properties competitively, either at market rates or slightly above, to attract high-quality tenants. It is noteworthy that Prem Property conveyed to the landlord a commitment to maintaining the property's standards by keeping vacant any room until a suitable tenant meets predefined criteria, ensuring a focus on tenant quality over expedited occupancy. This strategic approach aimed not only to enhance the property's income potential but also to avoid potential future challenges associated with tenant turnover and property maintenance.

Maintenance Concerns:

 

Upon assuming ownership of the property, we encountered substantial issues, notably in the realms of internet connectivity and roofing. The property grappled with severe internet connectivity problems, impairing its overall operational efficiency. The aged roof, a venerable centenarian, posed persistent challenges, necessitating extensive patchwork to prevent complete deterioration. This antiquated roofing predicament resulted in multiple rooms falling out of commission, demanding significant financial and temporal investments to reinstate their functionality. Consequently, considerable resources were allocated to address these concerns, not only for the restoration of affected rooms but also to enhance the overall marketability of the property. It is noteworthy that our commitment to addressing these challenges was underscored by a critical incident—a major leak—that further underscored the imperative of our proactive maintenance approach.

Management of a Major Leak:
 

In a pivotal moment during the management of the Walsall HMO property, we faced a formidable challenge: a major water leak caused by a burst mains pipe in a tenant's room. This unfortunate incident transpired due to the local water supplier's infrastructure issues, exacerbated by heavy rainfall leading to sewer overflows.

Prem Property addressed a major water leak crisis in a Walsall HMO property caused by a burst mains pipe. We managed emergency repairs, collaborated with utility personnel, and ensured tenant safety and well-being during the unforeseen incident.

The severity of the situation necessitated immediate attention, and our proactive response was instrumental in averting potential damage and ensuring the safety and habitability of the property. The crisis unfolded during a downpour, resulting in a surge that disconnected one of the main water pipes, unleashing a tsunami-like reaction within a tenant's living space.

Upon receiving an emergency call from a tenant who had franticly stated that the house was flooding, water was gushing into the hallways, we had to quickly mobilise to assist the household. I remsmber as I drove to the property I directed the tenants on how to turn off the water supply. Even the tenants who's room was being flooded came home from work due to the news of a mains water pipe bursting in his room! I promptly arrived at the property around 9 p.m. As the property manager, I assessed the situation and initiated emergency measures. Collaborating with South staffs  water company, who caused the issue due to a surge in supply. We cut a whole in the ceiling to access the pips and expediently reconnected it temporarily. By the following morning, the pipe was permanently repaired with the help of our plumber.

In an effort to mitigate the impact on tenants, we took additional steps by providing each tenant with water supplies for shower, toilet and other use while the water supply is off for the night. This precautionary measure ensured access to clean water for the following day, providing a quick solution to the unforeseen challenge. To avoid damp issues we used the wet vaccum to suck up excessive moisture. 

Despite the unexpected setback, the effective management of this crisis demonstrated our commitment to tenant well-being and property integrity. The tenants, understanding the nature of the incident, appreciated our transparent communication and swift resolution. This incident served as a testament to our ability to navigate challenges and maintain the overall positive trajectory of property management.

Part 3: Initiatives by Prem Property Management

Graph showing monthly occupancy rates rising from 2021 to 2023, reaching 100% by the end of 2023 due to effective management actions by Prem Property.

Prem Property swiftly initiated measures to address these pressing HMO rental and property management issues:

 

- Mediation with Bad Tenants: Through effective communication and mediation strategies, the management team addressed concerns with problematic tenants, seeking amicable solutions while ensuring adherence to property regulations and safety standards.

  

- Proactive Approach to Property Repairs: Prem Property Management prioritised timely property repairs, focusing on critical issues such as the major leak, and instituted a preventive maintenance schedule to forestall future HMO rental issues.

Part 4: The Results

Images of successful results achieved by Prem Property Management through proactive measures, showcasing improved property outcomes.

Following the proactive measures implemented by Prem Property Management, significant improvements and positive outcomes were realised:

Maintenance Under Control:

 

By instituting a proactive maintenance schedule, the property experienced better control over maintenance issues, reducing unexpected expenses and ensuring the property's overall integrity. Taking a closer look at our approach, we strategically assembled a proficient team comprising contractors, roofers, handymen, gas engineers, and electricians. This collective expertise proves indispensable for both ongoing maintenance requirements and addressing repairs discussed in earlier chapters. Our dedicated management team remains on standby, ensuring swift resolution to issues such as leaks, water boiler malfunctions, or internet connectivity disruptions. With specialists at our fingertips, we not only maintain control but also swiftly alleviate discomfort, epitomising a proactive and effective maintenance strategy.

  

Upgrades to Property Facilities:

 

A comprehensive revitalization has been executed across the property, focusing on key areas such as kitchens, communal spaces, and parking facilities. A lot of attention was dedicated to addressing previous parking challenges caused by neighbours parking on our site, resulting in a new permit parking system. This not only mitigates potential disputes but also introduces an additional revenue stream for the landlord.

 

Moreover, the garden underwent a thorough makeover, facilitated by the engagement of an outdoor cleaning service, a fresh coat of paint on the exterior, and the installation of a lush astroturf. These conscientious efforts have not only elevated the property's standards but also significantly enhanced its curb appeal, providing tenants and the landlord with a more aesthetically pleasing environment.

 

Importantly, these upgrades not only enhance the property's appeal but also position it as an attractive HMO investment opportunity, catering to the diverse needs of individuals seeking a house in multiple occupations of this standard, which is hard to find in the Walsall area.

  

Improved Financial Metrics:

 

Through strategic initiatives, we have achieved a notable upswing in rental income; tenants are staying longer, consequently elevating overall occupancy rates. Moreover, a discernible reduction in repair costs has fortified the financial resilience of property operations. In essence, these multifaceted improvements have seamlessly converged to yield elevated rental returns, timely and complete tenant payments, and exceptional occupancy rates—a testament to the effectiveness of our implemented changes.

Graph showing a substantial increase in average rent roll received over the years from 2021 to 2023, highlighting the success of Prem Property Management's strategic initiatives in improving financial metrics and overall property management..

This case study illuminates the strides made by Prem Property in not only overcoming prevailing challenges but also in proactively implementing measures to elevate the property's allure, functionality, and financial performance. The outcome is a noteworthy enhancement across various pivotal domains.

 

Furthermore, the case study underscores how Prem Property tackled existing challenges head-on and took proactive steps to augment the property's attractiveness, functionality, and financial performance. The result is a marked improvement across the board.

Clickable image linking to a video testimonial featuring an HMO landlord sharing their positive experience with Prem Property's management services in Walsall, West Midlands

Thank you for exploring our HMO case study. If our property management approach has captured your interest and you see potential for collaboration, we welcome you to proceed to the next stage.

 

Ready to discover how our tailored solutions can elevate your HMO rental business in the West Midlands? Book a call with us today! Click on the link below to schedule a conversation. We'll explore your specific needs and discuss how our property management services perfectly align with your goals.

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