When it comes to designing the space in your HMO you should be putting the needs of your tenants first. You don’t want them falling out over access to the facilities. The ideal arrangement is 1 bathroom to every 3 tenants and health and safety regulations typically allow for a ration of 1 to 4.
Houses of Multiple Occupancy
Hello and welcome. Today we’re going to be looking at how many bathrooms you will need if you’re looking at purchasing an HMO (house in multiple occupation).
How Many Bathrooms Should You Be Aiming For?
There are two things to consider when it comes to how many bathrooms you need in an HMO. The first is thinking about what is going to be suitable for your tenants (and you need to put your tenants first). The second is what is required of you by health and safety legislation to the satisfaction of an HMO officer.
As a rule of thumb, you should be aiming for one bathroom per three tenants. You can have less but this is the sweet spot and ideally is what you should be going for.
Putting Your Tenants First
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. Happy tenants will stay in your property for longer. In the long run, keeping your tenants happy will save you the expense of having to find new ones. It will help you to avoid those expensive void periods when the property isn’t full.
So, you don’t want your tenants to be arguing with each about hogging bathrooms or things like that. You want to make sure that your tenants have got enough space to enjoy living in your property. That simply, there are enough bathrooms to go round.
Putting your tenants first and keeping them happy should be your first priority when it comes to looking at how many bathrooms you need in your HMO.
Housing Health and Safety
Health and safety regulation for an HMO typically requires one bathroom to every four tenants. If you have five tenants you will probably need to supply separate toilets from the main bathroom in the main bathroom suite.
What’s important is that the tenants aren’t running into difficulty through a lack of usable facilities.
The HMO Officer
So as I’ve said ultimately you should be going for the one-bathroom-per-three-tenants ratio. From a health and safety perspective, you can often stretch that to one-bathroom-to-four.
Sometimes different councils can have different requirements so you will need to check what the requirements are.
If your local council has an HMO officer (as many do) I recommend speaking to that person. More often than not they are friendly and willing to come and look at the property. They will be able to give you advice on site both about what you need to do to comply with local regulations and also on what would make the most sense in the property itself.
We speak to many investors that are a bit cautious about speaking to HMO officers. They shouldn’t be and neither should you.
Putting It All Together
When it comes to how many bathrooms you need in your house in multiple occupation the ideal ratio is one in three. This can be stretched to one in four.
You should also be asking yourself whether there is potential to include one or several en-suite bathrooms. We’ve covered that in another piece on whether sacrificing bedroom space to build en-suite bathrooms is a good idea.
I hope that helps. Remember that if you are unsure about how many bathrooms you need then talk to the HMO officer for the local council. Apart from that, put your tenants first. Remember that if they’re happy with the facilities then they will stay for longer and your HMO will be more profitable.