This week, we chatted to Eastbank Managing Director, Michelle Goldstein about this popular trend in affordable housing. We all know how difficult it can be to find somewhere to live in the city and how expensive it can be.

Here, Michelle tells us what the benefits are to HMO living and the high level of shared accommodation that Eastbank offers.

Could this be the perfect solution to renting in London if you have limited income?

What exactly is an HMO?

Houses in Multiple Occupancy – in other words, a convenient, shared home by individual renters who are not from the same household.

HMOs are houses that offer communal living space but with private bedrooms; perfect for people who might be leaving home for the first time, or perhaps going through a messy and expensive divorce, trying to get back on their feet. They are also ideal for young professionals who are struggling to get on the property ladder.

HMOs offer a solution for the budget-conscious house-hunter and, it would help alleviate the pressure on councils who are struggling to meet the demand for local authority rentals.

HMOs don’t need to be permanent either. They can be a good, temporary place for people to stay until they get their careers off the ground or simply until they can afford a home of their own.

What is the benefit of them and to whom do they mostly appeal?

The benefits of living in an HMO are obvious and, they are growing in popularity. As I outlined above, they appeal to a variety of people looking for an affordable place to live. Usually, personal circumstances or budget is a contributing factor.

We’ve also seen HMOs being utilised by city workers who spend Monday to Friday in London but return home at weekends.  Perhaps hotel rooms can be a lonely place if you’re travelling for work on a long-term basis. It’s maybe more comforting to rent somewhere mid-week rather than permanently uproot their lives and families.

Also, for people who don’t like living on their own, they can feel safe and secure with their housemates and enjoy some company in the communal living areas when they want it, but can still have their space and privacy in their allocated bedroom. For them, it’s an ideal solution. It can also be very cost-effective, especially as London living can be so expensive. Here at Eastbank, our HMOs have all utility bills included in the rental cost. We provide a weekly cleaning service and, we also supply free Wi-Fi – these benefits are real plus points for our HMO tenants. Not every HMO provider or landlord offers all this, but we do.

How many HMOs does Eastbank have and where are they?

We currently have five HMOs in Leytonstone, Leyton and Walthamstow to the east of the city.

What feedback have you had from your HMO tenants?

The feedback we have had is really positive all round and generally, we’ve been commended for the quality and standards in our HMOs – the tenants feel safe and secure. They’ve also been happy to praise our swift response to any repairs or emergencies. Thankfully, these are few and far between as our HMOs are maintained to a very high standard. It’s also heartening to hear about tenants who started sharing as strangers have now become life-long friends.

Do you have any plans to provide more?

We would love to create more. However, in some cases, and I must emphasise, SOME cases, the local councils have been reluctant to grant licenses for HMOs.

HMOs are a great way to help solve London housing shortages and, I believe these shared properties could be the way ahead for Londoners who can’t find or secure decent, affordable housing in the city.

I’m keen to show that these rentals are an ideal solution for many people and, I hope they will be more enthusiastic about issuing the certificates needed to make them more readily available.