HMO’s are widely claimed to be the most profitable buy-to-let model, bringing in up to three times the amount you would get for renting the property to a single family. With the increasing demand for cheap housing, more and more landlords are considering HMO’s as an option. A typical example of an HMO investment would be buying a 2-3 bedroomed terraced property and converting it into 5 bedrooms with shared facilities such as a living room, kitchen or bathroom.
Accommodating lots of people under one roof can be tricky, especially when it comes to heating. If your tenants are students or shift workers, for example, they will have different patterns of occupation and therefore require heating at different times. This can be a problem if your residence is centrally heated. Central heating only heats the house as a whole rather than on an individual room basis and the thermostat is also centrally located. This lack of zonal heating often means that landlords choose electric heating as an alternative.
Why are electric radiators ideal for HMO’s
HMO properties tend to require more upkeep due to a higher turnover of tenants. Why add boiler servicing and breakdowns to your ‘to do’ list? Electric radiators don’t require annual checks or any on-going maintenance.
Peace of mind
Being an HMO landlord brings with it extra responsibilities. If you eliminate gas from the property, you do not need to worry about leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Accurate thermostats on each individual unit means they are responsive to changes in room temperature ie. if the sun comes round and heats the room the radiator will switch off. Some electric radiators also have an open window detection feature, which switches off the unit if it notices a significant drop in room temperature. These features ensure that minimal energy is wasted and lower your electric bills.
Having a programmable unit in every room, with an individual thermostat means that the tenant can set the heating schedule and temperature around their own lifestyle and comfort. This level of controllability is also an advantage over storage heaters, which is what most people think of when they think about electric heating.
How to ensure optimal running costs
1) The capital outlay for electric radiators is minimal compared to gas central heating. So invest the savings into good insulation and glazing. If you eliminate energy leaks any heating system you choose will be more efficient.
2) Advise your tenants to programme the radiators to ensure they are not heating unoccupied rooms. Set up a programme for them if necessary.
3) Ensure that radiators are not covered with shelves or blocked by furniture such as sofas. Washing should not be dried on electric radiators. Covering the unit is the most common cause of failure. It causes it to overheat and the safety cut-out mechanism eventually breaks. Drying clothes on the radiators can also cause condensation and damp.
So if you want to maximise your yields from your investment, reduce your maintenance burden and ensure your tenants are happy, warm and in turn stay a little longer maybe you should consider an electric radiator.
Article Courtesy of: Louise Broom for VeriSmart
VeriSmart Heating supply ceramic core, electric radiators. Our radiators come with SGS (global) safety certification and safety brackets for added peace of mind. They also have a consumption control mode which enables you to check and control the consumption of the radiator, making them an ideal choice for landlords. For more information and advice about heating your properties click here.