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HMOs in the firing line: Another city ponders a clampdown

Another local authority is considering a clampdown on the spread and condition of HMOs.

Bath and North East Somerset Council, which is Liberal Democrat-controlled, is today considering a report on how HMOs fit into its local planning policies, and it’s expected the deliberations will trigger a six week consultation programme beginning in January.

Local media in the city suggest that potential changes include:


- amending existing HMO policy to include new build HMOs and those HMOs which emerge from a change of use granted to a non-residential property; 

- new controls over smaller HMOs which apply for consent to extend into larger HMOs;

- a new Parking Standards Supplementary Planning Document, to include HMO parking;

- and more detailed policies relating to student housing blocks and development on the University campuses.

The Bath Echo local news outlet quotes Liberal Democrat councillor Alison Born saying::“HMOs are important in the provision of affordable housing for younger people, but we also need to ensure a mixture of housing types in the city.

“I’ve heard numerous examples of families who have not been able to find homes to buy or rent in Bath, due to the number of HMO properties.

“A better mix could also help protect community assets, such as schools, because the conversion of family homes to HMOs drives down demand for school places.

“The Lib Dems brought in the first HMO planning requirements some years ago and, if supported by the public at consultation, I would be very keen to see these stronger controls on HMO growth put in place.

“We’ll be doing everything possible to highlight the opportunity to get involved, including a webinar before the consultation starts on how to get involved.

“I would urge residents to take part in the consultation and help build a robust case for updating these vital policies.”

Poll: Are HMOs a growing problem?


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    Where is it written that families are more important than individuals?

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    • Mr P
    • 10 December 2020 08:29 AM

    The large number of HMOs is an indication that there is STRONG demand for single room lets. Let’s face it, this is ‘affordable’ accommodation which is what everyone wants! YES come down hard on all the landlords who provide below standard, unsafe accommodation but don’t change the planning because you hear a ‘rumour’ of families struggling to find accommodation! The most robust argument is that accommodation should be affordable and it starts and stops there! HMO’s provide affordable accommodation. If a family can’t find accommodation it’s NOT because there are too many HMO’s it’s more likely because they can’t afford what’s available, so they should look somewhere else or lower their expectations. Removing or making it harder to create HMO’s doesn’t improve the supply issue it restricts it. Simple maths -a family of 3/4 people in a 3 bed house or 5/6 people in a 3 bed house.

  • Philip Drake

    Limiting the number of HMOs in the vicinity of schools would help families and not hinder HMOs which typically house sole adults.
    Encouraging HMOs close to trading estates would help sole workers by keeping housing and commute costs low and keep children away from industrial premises which may contain dangerous chemicals and machinery etc.which during the evening may be unattended.

  • Roger  Mellie

    I'm in agreement with Mr P, there is a demand for affordable accommodation. Although today, HMO rents are the lowest they've been since 2008.


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