Managing Houses in Multiple Occupation – Caroline’s latest paper…

Although Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are becoming the subject of growing academic research, what is known about how HMOs are managed and run remains very limited.   HMOs are often viewed as a problematic housing type associated with ‘studentification’ in communities located close to universities and anti-social behaviour in deprived seaside towns.  However HMOs are housing an increasing proportion of vulnerable adults who have limited affordable housing options. Furthermore Local Authorities use considerable resources in the licensing and monitoring of these types of properties, trying to hold landlords to account and minimise the negative impact of poorly run HMOs on local communities.

Understanding more about how HMOs are managed and the impact this has on tenants is important for environmental health and housing professionals who are making decisions about the strategic management of HMOs and assisting people to find appropriate housing.

In our most recent paper in the journal Housing Studies we try to address this knowledge gap using data collected from HMO landlords and managers and their tenants. We describe how the property landlords and managers control tenants through various means but how this also manifests as care and support. We illustrate the complex relationship between care and control and the extent to which both are integral to the housing management of vulnerable tenants living in HMOs.

Further, we think the paper raises interesting questions about what it means to be a ‘good landlord’ that are worthy of discussion, particularly as HMO licensing conditions may go beyond the realm of property management into social control.

The full reference for the journal is:

Green, G., Barratt, C and M. Wiltshire. 2015. Control and care: landlords and the governance of vulnerable tenants in houses in multiple occupation. Housing Studies 0(0), pp. 1–18.

For those fortunate to be attached to Universities who subscribe to Housing Studies our paper can be accessed via:

Others without subscriptions can read the abstract here too and see the references but all, particularly housing practitioners, are welcome to contact me (via: and I can send you a copy of our paper.

We hope you find the paper insightful and welcome questions and comments.

With best wishes, Caroline


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