A woman hoping to convert her 32-bedroom hotel into an HMO after being hit hard by Covid could spark a trend for more owners moving into the private rented sector.

Andreani Ahooie, who’s run the Longview Hotel in Knutsford (pictured) for 18 years, applied to turn the hotel into a six-bedroom home when bookings dried up.

She says she hasn’t made the decision lightly, but that its core clientele – corporate customers – have all but disappeared overnight.

“In a bid to retain some of our livelihood, we had no other choice but to look at alternative uses that allow the business to remain afloat,” says Ms Ahooie.

The National Residential Landlords Association tells LandlordZONE that anecdotally, it’s seeing some evidence of housing in the short-term lets market returning to the traditional private rented sector, mostly in inner London.

John Stewart, deputy policy director, says: “Whilst we have no firm evidence to prove it, we would not be surprised to see some independent hotels seeking to move to the rental market given the impact that COVID-19 has had on the hospitality industry. 

However, those considering doing so should be sure that they understand fully the complexities of managing an HMO.”

Some, like Ms Ahooie, might find they plans are met with opposition; Knutsford Town Council has already objected, citing fears of, “an unneighbourly relationship with the adjacent property”, while residents have raised concerns over parking.

She insists that she’ll only accept single tenants and will carry out checks using an independent management company, while drivers could use the hotel’s existing parking spaces.

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