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.”

Anti-social behaviour

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.

Read more: The complete guide to renting an HMO.

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.”


  1. Surely the anti social behaviour and criminality the councillor describes is because of the tenants not the property. These tenants are going to cause problems wherever they live – how does licensing HMOs prevent this? He is just attempting to move the problem elsewhere!

    • I completely agree. Having managed several HMOs I have found that majority of tenants are men who are socially inept to various degrees. Their mothers have had enough of them, their wives, girlfriends and friends have had enough of them, and they don’t earn enough to pay maintenance for their various children meaning that the only accommodation available to them is a room in a HMO. They then cause disruption in the HMO and I get complaints from the other tenants and neighbours. I’m closing down my HMOs. It’s not worth the hassle.

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  4. May be these Council should start with manners at school, so when they grow up they don’t cause these problems.

    We live in a Society, where the parents of those who cause ASB and other problems are not held accountable or even the individuals themselves. We are looking at Landlord to mother their tenants. Every problems in society seems to be dumped on Landlord e.g. Climate Change (EPC etc…), Workless (change to benefit system), Immigration (Right the Rent), ASB (doing the job of the police), Noise (council noise team), etc….

    What powers do Landlord have other then eviction? Even with that the Councils work against Landlord, to stop that happening.


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