When investing in a house in multiple occupation (HMO), you want to maximise the space you have to meet local standards and be more attractive to potential tenants. Understanding how you can make changes and plan your development to increase space ensures your HMO is appealing, modern and functional.
When planning an HMO development, the best advice we can give you is to maximise the space in as many rooms as possible, allowing you to incorporate multiple en-suites into your designs. Rooms with an en-suite are preferable for both students and working professionals. They provide extra luxe and privacy for people who want access to a shower or toilet at any time.
During the planning of your property development, pay close consideration to the minimum room size for your square meter; your en-suite is not included in this calculator. So, don’t try and put an en-suite in a room which will become borderline too small as this could leave you breaking the rules or creating a space that is unappealing to potential renters.
Make sure you get the most out of ‘wasted space!’ Pay close attention to how you can redesign cupboards and cloakrooms to help maximise your HMO.
One way you can maximise your space for an en-suite is to make use of cloakrooms. When converting downstairs rooms into extra bedrooms, you can make use of these spaces and deep cupboards that will no longer be needed. Carefully consider ways to utilise this space to add an en-suite (or even more room in a bedroom).
When planning the layout of the bedrooms in your HMO, I will always suggest using the dead space behind doors; these spaces are perfect for wardrobes to allow more space for furniture in the rest of the room.
Similarly, built-in wardrobes and storage are ideal for reducing the amount of space occupied by them, allowing the room to appear larger and more spacious. Taking the time to create unique, bespoke storage for every room will pay off in the end when tenants are appealed to both their modern look and space-saving benefits.
When considering the placement of other furniture like beds, bedside tables and drawers, play around with their placement until you find something which makes the room look bigger. Tucking single or double beds against a wall can open up space, mounting TVs on the wall gets rid of the need for console tables, and the built-in wardrobes may remove the need for a chest of drawers altogether. Once you have considered one room, it will be easier to implement a plan in the remaining rooms of your HMO.
In my opinion, hallways are a ‘waste of space!’ Instead, property developers can pull a doorframe or wall back into the hallway a meter or two to maximise the space in the bedrooms. This can make the room itself bigger to meet the local size standards or provide more space for a modern, spacious en-suite. Make sure you don’t overdo it and consider how the hallway will look afterwards – you don’t want tenants to feel claustrophobic when reaching the top of the stairs.
Like moving door frames, you can also move walls into larger rooms such as the kitchen to maximise the space in new downstairs bedrooms. Large, spacious kitchens are a great way to provide a social space for tenants, but consider if you could reduce this space by a couple of meters and still retain a friendly, open area. This will allow you to grow bedroom space and potentially bring in an en-suite into a room it could never have fit into before.
It is crucial to think about the practicality of all your tenants living within your HMO. Is it able to support all their washing, cooking and heating needs?
When planning your HMO development, you will also need to consider your boiler system. If every tenant wants a shower at the same time, your boiler needs to be up to the task. Consider whether your boiler system needs upgrading and prioritise this as it will save you time, energy and money in the future. You also need to think about how you will incorporate the boiler into your plans. The best way to maximise space is to integrate the boiler system into the surrounding furniture or installations. For example, a boiler can be hidden stylishly in a kitchen cupboard without sticking out like a sore thumb or taking up space elsewhere.
Also, you need to think about your water system. Like the boiler, it needs to go somewhere where it is accessible and easily slotted away out of sight and not in the way of creating more room space. Think about rooms where there are small, odd corners due to moving walls or adding en-suites. You can get tall cylinder water systems that can easily slot into these spaces and make use of this dead space.
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