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New Bill in Commons aims to curb 'over-extended' student lets

A Birmingham MP is to put a Bill to the House of Commons after the summer in his bid to stop what he calls “ugly and badly designed extensions” of homes, created with the purpose of housing large numbers of students. 

The Ten Minute Rule Bill - unlikely to make it into law but often used as a device to publicise an issue - is being put forward by Selly Oak Labour MP Steve McCabe and demands changing to planning and private letting legislation. 

McCabe says many of his constituents’ owner occupied homes have been affected by heavily extended neighbouring properties. 

The extensions have appeared following the relaxation in permitted development rights in 2013, which aimed to make small-scale extensions easier to execute. 

"The planning rules were changed [in 2013] for the right reasons, to allow people to extend their homes, but this has been exploited ruthlessly by these landlords. They are cutting corners, building beyond the plans and in some cases building things I think are deathtraps. At the same time the planning authority, Birmingham City Council, has been cutting back on enforcement – it can't afford to investigate" the MP says.

McCabe has also hit out at the number of To Let signs, and how long they remain in place.

He says letting agents and landlords should be taking them down within 14 days of a home being let, but this is often not the case - he says some are left up “year round.”

“It’s clear that in my constituency the letting agent board regulations aren’t being adhered to and the landlords that own student properties appear to be keeping these boards up for the purposes of unlimited free advertising. Not only does this ruin the appearance of many streets in Selly Oak, the practice is not being effectively regulated which means that the landlords in question just get away with it scot-free.”

  • Mark Hempshell

    Ermm sorry, but wouldn't a property extended to 'accommodate large numbers of students' be a HMO and hence come under existing HMO legislation?

    Why pick on landlords yet again? (If anything it's the non-landlord extensions that should be scrutinised more closely.)

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    This is absurd. Does McCabe understand basic supply and demand economics? Does he want Birmingham to push away students (a huge asset to the city and its economy)? Selly Oak is a thriving and diverse student village that benefits from huge disposable income and many businesses rely on this. Article 4 has already been enforced in Birmingham, this was a bad enough decision in itself. I wish it'd be possible to know when MPs were to attempt these stunts.

    No issues on the to let board side, they need to be better regulated, besides its a dying marketing channel anyway.

    The university need to weigh in here and pass comment so McCabe understands the impact his actions on their future and the local market.

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