Landlords in Bedford hoping to convert houses into HMOs are to face a raft of new regulations if the local council gets its way following a consultation that it due to run until 7th July.

HMOs within the town’s boundaries are to be restricted to no more than 30% of the total number of properties within a 100 metre radius and no more than two HMOs can be next to each other on a street, or sandwich existing family houses.

“The threshold is intended to manage the cumulative impact of large and small HMOs within the immediate and wider area and to ensure that the planning process is able to manage the impacts of piecemeal expansion of HMOs effectively through the addition of extra rooms for additional households,” the consultation document says.

Bedford Borough Council has published the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which is now under consultation.

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It sets out the new HMO restrictions which include four key ‘pillars’ that landlords will have to follow if they hope to have their plans to establish or extend an HMO approved by the council.

Density rules

As well as the density rules, it sets out minimum quality standards, requirements for car and bicycle parking facilities and requires that planners ensure the development of an HMO isn’t ugly or, as the document more politely puts it, has ‘no harmful visual impacts’.

“HMOs are a key part of the mix of accommodation on offer in Bedford Borough, particularly in the urban areas and immediate surroundings,” says Councillor Henry Vann, Portfolio Holder for Planning.

“It is important that we do everything we can to ensure that they are providing good quality housing for residents and are playing their part in creating balanced communities in our towns. Please do get in touch and have your say.”

In addition to planning permission, before an HMO may operate applicants may be required to gain additional approvals including Building Regulations approval and an appropriate HMO licence before it can legally operate.

Read the full consultation document.

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