Smithdown Student Lettings Set to be Limited by Councils

Liverpool landlords could soon be banned from letting homes to students off Smithdown Road, a popular student hotspot.

Frequent complaints about antisocial behavior and noise have led to council chiefs seeking powers to stop the conversion of family homes in the area to student use. The location has several student dominated streets, which has led to problems arising. These range from badly managed properties to streets overcrowded with too many cars. By changing the rules for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) the council hopes to make the area more attractive to families, although the measures may simply cap, rather than decrease, student numbers.

Landlords are currently able to start letting family homes to student tenants as they wish, however new plans would see them required to apply for council permission for properties currently classed as family homes. This will increase the council’s power to restrict their development.

Liverpool council’s cabinet will vote on the plans this week, with the new rules set to be introduced six months after a consultation.

The proposal would mark a significant blow for the local student community, as students are already beginning to forgo the Smithdown area for newly developed apartment blocks in the city centre. However, around 700 homes in the area are already classed as HMOs, limiting the possibility to stop students moving in.

The area has been plagued with similar rental problems, including the rise in ‘party lets’ which see tenants moving in on a temporary basis to throw parties. At the time, Greenbank Councillor Laura Robertson Collin commented: ‘In my ward, we have lots of unregulated ‘weekend’ lets – they are not used for any other residential purpose. We welcome visitors and tourists to our city but the expanding use of properties in residential streets as full-time yet unstaffed weekend ‘party-lets’ is having a bad effect on the local community. It is clearly a very lucrative business as is it replacing student letting as the number-one profit-making enterprise – it is also unregulated and not properly taxed.’

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