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Cabinet to discuss new action plan to tackle issues around HMOs


03 July 2023

A small house decoration held in cupped hands

A new action plan to tackle issues around Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) is set to be discussed by West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) Cabinet next week.

At the meeting planned for Tuesday, 11 July, Cabinet Members will consider the latest report which details proposals to crack down on unregulated and poorly managed HMOs, tighten planning controls and improve private renting for tenants.

The report provides a summary of work achieved by the HMO Member working group, which includes Members drawn from cross party membership, and makes recommendations for the implementation of an action plan for the Council to progress.

The working group also heard from local residents and Ward Councillors in seeking to understand the perceived community impact of HMOs, along with representatives from the Northampton Student Landlord Network.

Proposals put forward in the plan include:

  • tackling litter and rubbish generated by HMOs
  • monitoring general maintenance of properties
  • reviewing room sizes and amenities for tenants
  • maintaining a register of licensed HMOs
  • enforcement action against unlicensed HMOs
  • reviewing the Housing regulatory regime; including the Council’s Additional HMO and Selective Licensing Regimes
  • ensuring information is available to local communities via the Council website

Other proposals in the plan include improving parking in neighbourhoods with HMOs by investigating vehicle ownership and use across licensed HMO properties and single-family dwellings of a comparable size, and reviewing rules and best practice relating to HMOs and their impact on local communities in other areas of the country.

The report also recommends that planning decisions are made in line with the Article 4 Direction policy - planning legislation which allows the Council to remove permitted development rights in order to protect local amenities or the wellbeing of an area, and to ensure that this information is available to residents, communities, property owners, and developers.

West Northamptonshire Council recognises that similarly to many other areas across the country, HMOs and how they operate are a cause for concern for many residents.

HMOs form part of the overall housing supply across West Northants and are particularly beneficial for people on low incomes, key workers and students – but they must be licensed and managed properly.

Through the cross party Member Working Group we have had an opportunity to hear from a wide range of people and organisations to gain an understanding of the issues surrounding HMOs and the choices available to us. These proposals aim to further equip the Council to protect tenants, support landlords and make our neighbourhoods more pleasant for everyone.
Cllr Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of WNC and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure
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