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How HMO Landlords and Student Tenants Can Work Together To Reduce Rental Costs

With the cost of living having increased substantially in the last few years, student tenants and their landlords are feeling the effects. However, there are ways that HMO landlords, letting agents and students can work together to help minimise living costs for tenants.

In this blog we’ll look at 6 key areas where proactive measures could help student tenants and landlords reduce rental costs.

1. Communication is Critical

Good communication between HMO tenants and their landlord or letting agent is important. If tenants are proactive and report issues or damage to items as they arise, it allows the landlord to fix things early on before they become a more serious problem.


For example, if taps start to leak, the silicon seal breaks around the shower base or condensation is evident, notifying the landlord early on allows them to fix the issue before things worsen and the repair bill escalates. Any additional bill is likely to be passed on to the students or result in a reduction in the deposit returned. Something which all students would rather avoid as they are already living on a tight budget.

Communicating regularly and quickly with a landlord, even about the small things, could save tenants and their landlords many pounds!

2. Setting Expectations from the Outset

Making sure that a HMO tenancy agreement is clear and explicit on the changes that can and cannot be made to the property during a student rental period, helps the tenant to exactly understand the parameters they can work within.

For example, the effect of blue tac on the walls from posters can cause quite some staining from the oils, which may result in a landlord needing to repaint between tenancies. Such costs could result in a deduction of a student tenant’s deposit.

Student landlord should  ensure they have made their expectations clear in how they would like their tenants to keep the property in good repair with any specific instructions detailing things such as opening bathroom windows to prevent condensation or keeping heating on over winter to avoid burst frozen pipes, so that repair costs can be kept to a minimum for everyone.

3. Upgrade the Property

There has been and continues to be, a big push by the government to improve the efficiency of rental properties in the UK.

Ensuring insulation is upgraded and there is a sufficient amount of it within the loft space, is not only a great investment for the landlord in making the property more heat efficient, but also helps tenants, especially students ones on limited budgets, to reduce their bills.

Putting in a modern boiler is a large upfront cost, but again helps to ensure that the heating works efficiently and keeps the house warm and damp free, whilst possibly also reducing the heating bill.

Other upgrades could include renewable technologies such as heat pumps or solar panels, which the government have schemes to help with the initial costs.

The government has discussed bringing in an EPC rating of ‘C’ for rental properties. Whilst this date was originally 2025 for new rental properties, it has now been scrapped and we wait to hear if or when it may be reintroduced.

However, investing in ways to bring the EPC rating of rental properties up can only be better for both students and the HMO landlord, providing a warmer and possibly cheaper property to live in whilst also helping to future proof the property.

4. Pick Energy Providers

Student Landlords who include bills as part of the rent are advised to shop around for the best energy deals. These days the rates change constantly and switching providers can be relatively painless. Using comparison sites can take a lot of the stress out of finding providers and give an understanding to the savings you could make.

For the few students who are responsible for organising the payment of energy providers, you may also be able to switch companies and save some money, but do check your student tenancy agreement first and ensure you have permission to do so and avoid any issues at the end of your rental period.

5. Contractors You Can Count On

The saying ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ is often true for housing and repairs. Having reliable, good value contractors who carry out work professionally is worth paying for the first time round to avoid the pain of having to have something done cheaply, but which needs to be redone within a short space of time.

Using contractors that you can trust to do a job to a good standard, usually saves money in the long run and may mean work is more robust and will last longer, even in a heavily used HMO property.

6. Insurance is Important

Whilst insurance probably isn’t the initial thing you might think of paying for in order to save money, it is often a very sensible safeguard. Insurance covers HMO landlords and tenants in the event of a huge and unexpected event, such as damage to the building, burst water pipes causing substantial flooding or having to relocate your tenants in the interim.

Having the right insurance cover will help reduce the stress of these sometimes catastrophic events, as well as limit the potentially huge unexpected bills.

Supporting Student Landlords for Over 20 Years

Here at digs, we work with and support our HMO landlords in whatever capacity they find helpful. We’re here to guide you where needed and to ensure that you get the right tenants who will look after your property so that you make the best investment choices.

If you’re a student, our team is there to help you find the best student accommodation at what is often a stressful time in a fast moving market.

If you’d like to discuss any of the above, or any other aspect of our property management service, please call the team on 0117 930 8750 or fill out our contact form.


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