Coventry is seen as a “buy-to-let landlord’s paradise” as more HMOs are created.
With the growth in student numbers and the popularity of the HMO multi-occupied model as a buy-to-let investment “cash-cow”, being touted by the property investor seminar “gurus”, some parts of those cities with thriving universities are suffering from “studentification” – the takeover of leafy residential areas by HMO student lets.
This may be off-set to some extent in the future as the provision of more purpose-built student accommodation near universities gathers momentum, currently being boosted by the Coalition Government’s build-to-rent scheme. In Coventry’s case, as reported by the Coventry Telegraph, a redundant AXA Insurance building is being converted into student accommodation.
But as letters written to the Coventry Telegraph argue, this additional accommodation is unlikely to relieve the pressure on residents living in areas being taken over by HMOs and hundreds of noisy students.
A letter written to the paper by resident George Moore, says:
“The hope that the AXA deal will ‘free up houses previously lived in by students’ is nice but misplaced. The cap on student numbers for universities has been removed so they will go up. Inevitably this will lead to a greater demand for accommodation.
“There are no signs that the provision of purpose built accommodation is anywhere near adequate to meet this demand nor that current HMOs are returning to family use. Quite the opposite. Their numbers continue to rise. Certainly in my own road which already has a high density of HMOs, not one has returned to family use.
“There is currently a new application for planning permission to convert a five-bedroom family house into an eight-bedroom student HMO. Permission may or may not be granted. But in any case there is nothing to stop the landlord, who lives in London, from turning the house into a five-bedroom HMO. In fact students have already moved in.
“He needs no planning permission for the five-bedroom option. The council has taken none of the actions open to it if it really wanted control over such situations. So there goes yet another family home. More will follow.
“Coventry is regarded nationally as a buy-to-let landlords’ paradise. It offers the perfect combination of a massively expanding student market, comparatively cheap housing and no council controls. The council needs to adopt vigorous policies, not just ‘supporting purpose built student accommodation”.
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) March 10, 2015