‘HMO queen’ of Samuel Leeds Academy becomes financially free within 1 year

Samuel Leeds

They call Kiana Paul the HMO queen of the Samuel Leeds Academy. Kiana has only been a full-time property investor for a year and yet she already has five of them. She rents the properties from the owners and then lets the rooms to doctors and nurses from overseas. Her portfolio is making her a profit of £5,500 a month and she has three more house shares lined up – all while coping with a chronic health condition.

Samuel Leeds

Kiana had a hectic lifestyle before going into property. She worked in the NHS on and off for a decade, going from being a PA to an office manager and later a project manager. Towards the end of her time in the health service she set up a commercial cleaning company.

After that she had a launderette and was working more than 140 hours a week. By her own admission the hours were ridiculous and left her incapable of making decisions.

So, she sold her cleaning business and closed the launderette. With money in the bank, Kiana bought an investment property in Izmir, a coastal holiday destination in Turkey.

That was in March 2019 and for the next four years she rented it out. It was a small property which gave her a modest income of £300 to £400 a month. 

Then Kiana came across Samuel Leeds. At the time she was a delivery driver for Amazon and one day found herself stuck on the M25 due to a protest.

To kill some time, she went on YouTube and ‘up popped Samuel.’ 

“That was the start of everything. I quit my jobs three days later. I was going to quit anyway because I wanted to start a business. I just watched Samuel and that was it. I knew where I was going. I knew instantly.”

Property was something she had wanted to get into for a long time, but Kiana took it no further after her first investment as she became unwell with fibromyalgia. 

Describing its effect on her, she says: “It’s a condition for life. I can’t die from it, but the symptoms are very similar to lupus or MS. It doesn’t stop me. What I found out was delivery driving actually helps me. The more I move the better I am.”

Having had her interest in real estate rekindled, she sold her investment property in Turkey to enrol on the academy in March 2023.

“I paid £27,500 for it. It was a new build. I pulled out my money and more than doubled it. I got £60,000.”

Business is in her blood, she says, and the academy was the vehicle to achieving her ambitions.

“I knew that was going to help propel me forward. I needed the knowledge.”

Success comes quickly for Kiana 

Before joining the academy, Kiana knew about some of the strategies investors use to make money in the housing market. However, lease option agreements were new to her, and she had no experience of commercial developments.

She was also keen to access the mentorship and the network which the academy offered, while learning and earning.

“Because I’ve been in business, I know how lonely it is. I really needed to socialise with the networking.”

The entrepreneur was the spotlight speaker at one of the training events in March this year, surprising herself by managing to survive ten minutes talking to an audience.

Success came quickly to her. Within a month of being on the academy, she secured her first rent-to-HMO. 

“I’ve also got an SA (serviced accommodation) as well. That was a joint venture. I got that one in May. I got my next one on July 1st and then from there it just keeps going. I’ve got HMOs in Birmingham, Coventry and Leicester and one in London now.

“This one’s got nine beds and nine en suites. That’s a work in progress because we’re currently working on the figures.”

Kiana is hoping the owner will pass on more properties to her once the deal is finalised. 

Some of her house shares were already furnished when she took them on, leaving her with minimal work to do. 

The rewards have been plentiful. “Just from the five HMOs the profit per month is £5,500. With my very first one I was only making £600 [a month] but it doesn’t matter because I’ve got other landlords now through that.”

Kiana looks for existing HMOs close to hospitals because all her tenants are doctors and nurses, targeting properties that are no more than a 15-minute walk or a three-minute drive away. 

She finds properties which match her criteria through Rightmove, searching for houses with five and six bedrooms in a 10-mile radius of her chosen patch and then calls the agents. 

Kiana tells them she is a property investor and checks whether the accommodation is available as a company let and has a licence to be used as a house of multiple occupancy. The next step is to work out what rent to offer through her company, Malakai Properties.

“I look at the maximum rent that I can get. I’ll be a bit conservative. So, I do drop it by £25 to £50 on each room. I then add them all up and work out my price.”

Rather than trying to negotiate a discount on the rent, the businesswoman offers a higher monthly amount to secure the accommodation.

Her six-bed HMO in Leicester was advertised at £1,800 and she paid £2,075. “I did go the other way because of my numbers. I’m making nearly £1,300 on that a month from profit.”

Kiana calculated she could earn more from the property, which has four bathrooms, by putting separate locks on two of them. The tenants in two of the rooms were then given their own bathroom. A third bedroom already had an en suite and so she was able to push up the rents.

It was also fully furnished, and the landlord paid for the locks as he covers all the expenses. 

“I just had to spend about £500 for bits and pieces and put down a month’s rent as a deposit.”

She rents out the double rooms without an en suite for around £600 and the ones with bathroom facilities for about £675, generating a monthly income of £4,000. Out of that she pays £500 to £600 each month for the bills.

That one deal has also brought her more business. After building a relationship with the landlord, he is handing over two more of his properties for her to manage. 

“He’s giving me a six-bed and a four-bed. So, I won’t have to pay a deposit on those.”

The advantage for the landlord is that he receives a guaranteed monthly rent. He could rent out his property himself. However, Kiana says he is content to take less money, knowing exactly what rent is coming in.

“That particular landlord owns a lot of the city centre, but he also owns stately homes as well. He’s not interested in doing what I do.”

‘I learnt from the best’

Many people might balk at the idea of taking on a rent-to-rent because of the risk of not finding tenants for the rooms and still having to pay the landlord. 

Kiana, however, has no such qualms. “I know I can rent them out. I’m pretty aggressive with my advertising. I’ll spend £200 to 300 a week if I have to. I’m always at the top of the listing.

“I filled my Leicester property in five days. I take a little longer on them if I have to but that was my quickest.”

There is also a shortage of rooms, points out Kiana who finds tenants through advertising her accommodation on sites like Gumtree, OpenRent, SpareRoom and Facebook. 

She arranges block viewings when she has vacant rooms to fill, allowing 15 people in at a time in ten-minute intervals. 

“If they don’t turn up they’ve got to wait until the next viewing. I’m literally running up and down the stairs showing them the rooms. If there are people queuing to see a room, they want it. I make them pay the deposit there and then.”

Prospective tenants are not shown all the rooms in case they think there is something wrong with him. Instead, she only gives them a choice of two rooms to view, agreeing with her guru Samuel that there is an art to renting out accommodation.

“I learnt from the best. I just do what Samuel tells me to do and it works.”

Kiana has power teams, including cleaners, electricians and damp specialists in place to help her manage the properties under her control. 

“I just leave the key box on the outside and they make their own way in. I tell them what the issue is. The cleaners are my eyes. They will pick up on things. They’re fantastic.”

The academy lived up to all her expectations and she has been impressed by the constant addition of more courses on topics such as commercial investing, developing and auctions.

Property has not just made her wealthy she also has a much better lifestyle these days. “I’m a bit more careful now. I don’t do 140 plus hours a week. That was the problem. That was what set my illness off in the first place. 

“I sleep like a normal human being. I sleep seven hours a day and make sure I exercise.”

Kiana’s tips

  • If you want to go into property, get on the crash course. There’s so much information just in that one day and you learn a lot. There’s a strategy for everybody.
  • Cleaners are hard to find but once you find them hold on to them. Pay them extra. That’s what I do.

Samuel Leeds’ verdict

“What I love about Kiana’s business model is that she is implementing the rent-to-rent strategy on HMOs which is great. She’s making very good money and is financially free. Now she has mastered that and knows the good and bad areas and what rents out she can buy HMOs. She is doing amazingly well and we’re proud of her.”

Get Sharing!