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Cairn: HMO Specialists in Edinburgh

As HMO specialists in Edinburgh, we regularly write about the benefits and considerations of renting an HMO in Scotland’s capital, whether that’s from the perspective of a landlord or a tenant. 

In this post, we’ve pulled together the most important links, definitions, and information, all in one place. If you’re thinking about renting an HMO in Edinburgh, make sure you read this first. 

Firstly: What is an HMO?

An HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) or “house share” is a residential property where three or more unrelated people rent and share facilities (such as a bathroom, toilet, and kitchen). 

HMOs are a great way for landlords and tenants to spread the risk of renting. However, for a property to qualify as an HMO, it must meet strict licensing requirements. 

All HMO properties in Edinburgh are licensed by the local council, and the council will typically inspect properties before issuing a licence. 

The licence means HMO landlords are responsible for the following:

  • Quarterly inspections and fire training
  • Smoke alarm installation on every level
  • Clearing fire escapes of obstruction
  • Keeping communal areas clean and tidy
  • Ensuring waste disposal facilities are in place 

In addition to this, the rooms in the property must be of adequate size, and any gas and electrical appliances must be certified safe. An approved HMO property must have its licence prominently displayed.

When is an HMO Licence Not Needed?

There are a few situations where an HMO licence won’t be required. For example, if a tenant is living with their landlord, the landlord doesn’t count as one of the unrelated people. 

Similarly, by law, a landlord does not require a licence if two of the tenants are a couple. This is defined as “married or civil partners, or living together as husband and wife or, where they are of the same sex, in an equivalent relationship”.

You can read more about HMO licensing requirements on this page: HMO Letting with Cairn.

What Are the Benefits of HMO Letting in Edinburgh? 

There are a few benefits to renting an Edinburgh HMO property, for both tenants and landlords:

  • For tenants: You can split the bills between more people, potentially saving you more money than if you were renting alone or with one other person. HMOs in Edinburgh are popular with the city’s college and university students, allowing them to live affordably off-campus and cook together to save money.
  • For landlords: You’ll likely receive a higher rental yield when letting an Edinburgh HMO, while void periods are often reduced due to high demand from students and young professionals alike. HMOs also mean you can collect rent from several tenants, so if one is late, it shouldn’t hurt your cash flow as much as it would with a standard let.  

Are There Any Disadvantages to Renting an HMO?

There are a few minor downsides to renting HMO properties in Edinburgh worth noting: 

  • For tenants: If one of your flatmates is late with their share of the rent, the rest of you could be on the hook for it. This can cause tension, particularly if you don’t know one another all that well prior to living together.
  • For landlords: There are far more regulations and responsibilities involved in letting an HMO property compared to a standard let. And success can often hinge on your tenants living together peacefully! 

Our HMO Specialists Edinburgh Resources:

Cairn: HMO Specialists (Edinburgh)

We’ve been managing fully licensed HMO properties in Edinburgh for several years. Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, when you rent with Cairn, you’re in good hands. We meet all licensing requirements, move tenants in safely, and carry out quarterly inspections to make sure the property is secure, clean and comfortable, as per the HMO conditions. 

Are you interested in renting an HMO property in Edinburgh? Get in touch to learn more.
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