Labour councillors in Hartlepool campaigning to restrict HMOs in the town have been told to find evidence of problems caused by shared properties.
They want to make all sizes of HMOs subject to planning permission to give local residents a voice, says deputy Labour group leader, councillor Jonathan Brash (picture), who reports that problems in his ward have included drug dealing, prostitution, fly-tipping, empty dwellings and a range of other anti-social issues, particularly noise.
'In 11 years of being a councillor, if I have received a complaint of anti-social behaviour or criminality related to a property then I can almost guarantee it's in the private rented sector,'� he tells LandlordZONE.
'The impact of this is that there are literally hundreds of families right across Hartlepool whose lives are being negatively impacted by poorly managed properties.'�
Brash adds that he understands why landlords often feel that greater regulation is an imposition on them but says: 'In the balance between that and defending the rights of other residents to live in a street that is safe, quiet and free from anti-social behaviour, I come down on residents' side every time.'�
Planning committee chair Mike Young says coming up with evidence about HMOs will be key to any debate around possible policy changes.
He told a recent council meeting: 'Finding out whether they are indeed causing anti-social behaviour for example, and more broadly whether the '�fear of crime', a definite material consideration, is reasonable in determining the impact of HMOs based on the actual evidence we have.'�
Young added: 'I am just as motivated to discover the impacts of HMOs and how that might help steer future council policy.'�