An Essex council have introduced legislation in order to reduce the number of houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs), in a bid to reduce anti-social behavior, something allegedly associated with such housing types.
The move, a blow for all local landlords, for whom HMOs are often the most lucrative type of rental property, will mean that any landlord wishing to convert their property into a bedsit or house share will be forced to submit a planning application. As a result of this, there have been no new HMOs or applications for HMOs in Tendring, the area in which the ruling has taken place.
Critics have smited the bill, saying that planning rules should not be used to control antisocial behavior, and that by limiting the number of HMOs available, they are also limiting the amount of affordable accommodation on the market. With rental prices rising, and getting on the property ladder already proving troublesome, many potential tenants will now struggle to find a property within their price range, meaning that it is not only landlords whose finances are affected by the move.
Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, Alan Ward, said: ‘There is no proof HMOs cause anti-social behavior. Controlling the market like this a form of social engineering – multiple occupancy properties are the type of accommodation that students, nurses and young teachers need.’
However, Tendring’s cabinet minister for housing, Paul Honeywood is pleased with the results of the measures, claiming: ‘I believe that we have been able to bring in that very important measure of control and it is making a difference and will continue to do so.’