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Covid-19: Labour councillors say HMOs must be en suite

Opposition Labour councillors on a local authority says HMOs should only be let if each bedroom has an en suite bathroom. 

The leader of the Labour group on Northampton council - Danielle Stone - says: “In this day and age it should be taken for granted that everyone should have access to their own bathrooms.”

She continues: ”All HMOs should be en suites. Strangers sharing bathrooms makes Covid-secure hygiene impossible. It makes social isolation, sheltering, or quarantining next-to impossible.”


The Northampton Chronicle news website quotes Stone as saying: “Where households share an entrance way and communal areas there should be a requirement for landlords to undertake a weekly deep clean.”

The town recently hit the headlines when 16 employees of a local food factory tested positive for Coronavirus.

They had been travelling to work in shared cars, and groups of two to four people were living in local HMOs. 

Stone continues: "In Northampton we have many families living in overcrowded conditions. This means parents and children are on top of each other, without adequate storage, room to play, room to study.

"Lockdown makes this so much worse. When this happens the parents and the children need safe places to go, like inside and outside play areas and libraries. Can schools be asked to help with this? Can other community spaces, like church halls, be made safe to be used?”

You can see the Chronicle article here.

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    Best tell that to the universities who let student accommodation with communal kitchens and bathrooms.
    This woman obviously lives on the planet Zod which, as we all know, is the home of cloud cuckoo land!

  • Mark Wilson

    HMO's are petri dishes for COVID, like cruises, which have been canceled till further notice.

  • Richard Tacagni MCIEH

    There is no power for the council to require each bedroom to have an ensuite bathroom in existing HMOs, providing shared bathrooms are suitable and sufficient. In many cases, there may also be inadequate space to provide ensuite facilities.

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    • 28 October 2020 11:00 AM

    I don't suppose this idiot Councillor has any idea that what is being proposed would result in Individual Council Tax Banding which would result in the HM0 being unviable.

    That would result in individual room AST stopping with only shared AST.
    But still no en-suites for every room because of ICTB.

    Another clueless Labour Politician.
    Labour seem to breed them!!
    I'm sure the many homeless from former HMO would be delighted that a Labour Politician has made them homeless.

    Without HMO there would be many hundreds of thousands of homeless.

    If it is OK for a family to share a bathroom then it works just as well for 4 unrelated occupants.

  • Barry X

    Yes, quite right..... ALL rooms in any HMO - including de facto "HMOs" in ordinary 2 and 3 bed flats where there happen to be sharers instead of a single person, couple or "family" - MUST have en suites.

    I think the standard of those en suites should be specified too - let's not leave anything to discretion or chance (landlords and agents don't care and know nothing about properties - which is why there must be so many laws) - they MUST each have a a MINUMUM free floor area of 3 sq meters (but for all tenancies from April 2021, and all new tenancies now 4 sq m), and each must have an opening window (as well as a "whole air ventilation system") with either a mountain or ocean view (to be defined in case an unscrupulous landlord tried to rent out a de facto HMO where it turns out that one of the spacious en suites only has a partial view when the frosted window is opened sufficiently to look out and check).

    While drafting this much-needed and long overdue legislation I think they should remember to include provision for mandatory prison terms for any landlord (no need to keep saying "unscrupulous" since ALL of them are - its well known) DARES offer or advertise a room in an HMO that doesn't have access to either its own private roof terrace or at least a communal one (not shared by more than 3 units, obviously) that must be at least 25 sq m in size, have a hot tub and at least a partial ocean view and/or mountain or jungle one (urban jungles disallowed and excluded).

    There, now they'll have PROOF that these vitally important measures are not just revenue raising (I forgot to say, there's a licence fee - this is an ADDITONAL "HMO mandatory en suite & roof terrace licence" - of a minimum of £800 per room per 2 years), or vote winning (dumb tenants - and there are plenty - will love it) but "raising standards", i.e. outlawing existing housing stock and making it harder and harder to find anywhere that can actually, legally, be rented to you at any price (obviously this is going to need rent controls to keep it affordable for "key workers" and anyone on a zero hours minimum wage contract, or DSS of course - we must offer everything to them first).


    Now we're making progress how about unlimited fines and/or a lobotomy for anyone stupid enough to offer anything for rent to anyone anywhere unless it has a minimum floor area of 110 sq m (tenants need space - its a basic human right), allows pets (essential to create that feeling of a "home" - tenants need to feel adored by their pets at least, and even if they kick and starve them), a minimum EPC rating of C (obviously, why settle for mere national average when after all you're a tenant?) and of course that all-important ocean and/or mountain view from your 25+ sq m roof terrace with hot tub...... we need a "WORLD CLASS" PRIVATE RESIDENTIAL SECTOR with zero landlords and zero properties available.... its not a "race to the bottom", no, no, no.... its a vote-winning climb to the heights of cloud cuckoo land.


    You have just written the Manifesto for Shelter & Generation Rent.

    Barry X

    Thanks Lyndon and you're right; I'm sorry..... yes, it WAS silly of me to give them any help or even more ideas and suggestions....

    ...just as well I forgot to mention the requirement for new tenancies from 1st July 2021 to have home cinemas with surround sound, and ALL tenancies (including existing ones) to have them by April 2022....

    ...or heated indoor swimming pools (because tenants need to exercise) with a minimum length of 20m for all fully self-contained units of accommodation, i.e. studios upwards, although HMO's will each only need one communal one.... for now anyhow... but communal pools must of course be Olympic sized unless the Landlord can claim an exemption due to the property being a lake house with its own private dock.

    ....and instead of trying to stop things like this our "professional bodies" can all sell us courses teaching us how to comply!

    Obviously even after all that there will STILL be a lot of scope to "improve standards" yet further, but at least this will be a start and a move in the right direction.


    ;-) which is crying not winking gleefully!

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    • 28 October 2020 13:03 PM

    The trouble is that these deluded ideas gain common currency and are then instituted.
    I'm afraid we are seeing the end of the PRS as it has been since 1997.

    If LL don't recognise this it will be they that suffer catastrophic financial damage.

    Convert BTL portfolios to as many resi properties as possible and take in lodgers.
    Living at each resi property at least once per month.

    No need for LA anymore with lodgers.

    No tenancy issues to concern yourself with.

    Being an AST LL is now a bankrupt business model.

    Lodgers are the way to go.

    LL with about 10 or so BTL properties should be able to reduce to about 2 unencumbered resi properties in addition to their current home.

    Twice a month they live at their other homes.


    Barry X

    good idea.... but better still, why not sell everything (pay a lot of tax - its our "duty" to "support the most vulnerable people in society", i.e. the government) and then claim benefits and go into emergency accommodation while the council search for one of the remaining flats still available for DSS claimants.... who knows, during your lifetime they might even find you one.

  • girish mehta

    Want to live on palace then work for it. Don’t expect landlords to provide you with palaces when you can’t pay for it. Or for free.

    • 28 October 2020 14:49 PM

    The trouble is Govt is making it perfectly possible for tenants to live for free

    They can just surf from one mug LL to another.

    Eviction now holds no horrors for tenants they just wait until the day before bailiffs arrive to evict which could be years!

    Easy to source the next mug LL who never do adequate referencing.

    Tenants can rightly see LL as free meal ticket.
    Trouble is so few LL realise this is how they are perceived.

    But no sympathy for the mug LL you are on your own!


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