As councils across the UK rail against the spread of HMOs, the NRLA says it’s not landlords’ fault that there is such high demand for this kind of rental property.
Wirral councillors have railed against HMOs while rejecting one highly criticised scheme in the borough.
Councillors across the political spectrum turned down the application for a seven-bed home and attacked the growing popularity of HMOs among developers, who they claimed were putting too many people into the houses.
Councillor Janette Williamson voiced fears about “low cost, low quality housing” concentrated in specific areas, while Councillor Paul Stuart said that by building so many HMOs, “we are creating tomorrow’s slums today” and likened building large numbers of HMOs to, “cramming people into rabbit hutches”.
Earlier this month, nearby Liverpool Council announced it would fight a Government decision to block the renewal of its controversial selective licensing scheme, which it had hoped to keep going until 2025.
Every eight days
While more licensing schemes are being introduced across the UK – with a new one set to be launched every eight days in the next 12 months – councils are also coming up with tougher rules, such as Brighton and Hove Council which has just agreed some of the country’s most stringent measures on HMOs.
Gavin Dick, local authority policy officer at the National Residential Landlords Association, says many councillors don’t like HMOs as they create complaints from residents when they become a focal point in streets where there can sometimes be a car for each of the six residents.
He tells LandlordZONE: “Councillors are guided by votes, not principles. The trend for student HMOs started in the early 2000s when the Government expanded universities but didn’t build enough halls of residence so HMOs were a response to that demand. Their quick growth has alienated residents.”
He says landlords should be realistic about applying to change a property into an HMO as, where a council has an Article 4 Direction in place, it will usually be turned down by the planning committee.