A group of 40 leading HMO operators have gathered at an an unusual conference to discuss the big issues facing the sector including one of the most pressing ' how to manage costs when many properties come with 'bills included'.
The 'HMO ManorMinds' event, hosted by software platform COHO at Fawley Court Manor House in Herefordshire, was attended by many of the big names within the sector including Robin Grant from Pure Homes, Daryn Brewer from ProPods, Trisha Pegg from Elgie Group, Lee Dumbarton from Urban Share, Piers Tussaud from Londex and Wendy Whitaker-Large.
The biggest debate was around how to manage rising energy bills within HMOs when tenants don't pay them.
Topics tackled included the adoption of sensor technology in each room to control individual heating zones; retro fitting cabling to future-proof properties for solar technology; moving over properties exclusively to 'all electric' operation; fitting technology that only heats a room when someone is within it and tenant education.
Tussaud said as an HMO he could only 'control what we can control' while Wendy Whitaker-Large gave an impassioned summary of the increasingly taxing environment that small landlords find themselves in, yet it is these very landlords that form the backbone of UK housing creating beautiful and safe spaces for millions of tenants.
'The outcome' was quite unconventional to what we know of traditional property networking events,' says Jonathan Harris, Head of growth at COHO.
'As a collective everyone there shared the same business model - to provide shared living accommodation.
'What our HMO ManorMind event did was to create a community out of these people. A community that is going to make waves. A community that will be instrumental in the success of our sector.
Helen Turner, co-founder at COHO, says: 'We're all about the community. Bringing people together who do great things in our sector will help us to excel faster.
'We had this idea to provide a unique and high impact event for the more experienced property community, with an agenda to give our guests the extended time and space to give and take away real value out of each other's company.'
Ruth Hunter, who is a supported living investor from Veredus Property, adds: 'This was the only place where I could meet the big players, as to be honest you won't find them at normal property events.'
After the conference many of the delegates then got stuck into a more informal party including, somewhat unusually, a hot tub party (pictured).
The event was organised by Helen Turner and Vann Vogstad, co-founders of COHO.