Niche specialist: HMO property architect

Created to help clients obtain HMO planning and building regulation approval faster, Cambridge-based HMO Architect provides a complete service. An HMO, a `house in multiple occupation’, is a property shared by more than a single household and three or more tenants. Houses in multiple occupation usually refer to shared houses and self-contained flats.

While HMOs are attractive as they offer higher returns as rooms are rented out individually, with a potential reduced rental void risk, they operate under a stringent regulatory framework and require precise management. HMO Architect was formed to help property owners on their HMO development journey.

HMO property compliance

The team at HMO Architect can provide insights into the technicalities of owning and operating an HMO, and optimise layouts and design to ensure it appeals to tenants. Any HMO property must comply with a host of HMO regulations including obtaining a mandatory licence: an HMO licence application must be made to the local authority. HMO landlords must also ensure that an annual gas safety certificate is completed and that fire safety measures are in place, including smoke detectors.

The shared facilities in communal areas of HMO properties must include adequate cooking facilities for the number of people in the house. There are other health and safety regulations and minimum room size requirements that HMO landlords need to comply with, and it is a legal requirement that regular tenant checks are undertaken.

Experienced team

Giovanni Patania, lead architect and co-founder of HMO Architect and WindsorPatania architects, is an HMO investor with over 15 years experience in HMO development, working on over 150 HMOs, and has a 95% planning and building regulation success rate. The team has over 16 years of experience in delivering architectural projects and members have built their own HMO property portfolios.

Development director Ryan Windsor commented that property is problem-solving, adding:

I’d recommend anyone doing work to assess their market, don’t over-spec and don’t overspend. Good investors are always looking for deals in any market. Don’t wait for better conditions, find better deals. Assess the risk correctly, do your due diligence, and work with the experts to make sure it all stacks. Always do things right, get the right advice on compliance, work with the council, and build a relationship there.

Full HMO property service

HMO Architect handles schemes from concept to planning permission, through building control and construction, and will even deal with local authorities. This enables clients to focus on finding their next property while the house is redesigned for tenants.

The practice can also help clients identify a building team that specialises in HMO property from a network of building companies, and offer on-site and off-site support and access to a range of contractors and tradespeople to ensure a successful project. They provide 3D models and CGI images of projects during the various stages, enabling clients to start raising finance or finding tenants before the work is completed. This RIBA practice is also registered with the Architects’ Registration Board.

What we like about this practice

HMO Architect was established to cater to a specific architectural niche – creating fantastic designs for houses in multiple occupation. They have years of experience behind them and a back catalogue of successful, innovative projects to inspire you. For more information go to Submit a Project – HMO Architect.

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