December 11 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 25, 2013
An organisation representing landlords has criticised moves to limit their ability to rent out properties to multiple occupants.
Tendring District Council introduced new powers to control the number of properties being converted into bedsits or house shares early this year in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve housing standards.
The new measures, which have been supported by Essex Police, mean landlords must now submit a planning application if they want to convert their property into a house of multiple occupancy (HMO).
Councillors have hailed the move a success and revealed there have been no new HMOs or applications for HMOs in the past six months, but critics of the idea say planning rules should not be used to control anti-social behaviour and that curbing the number of house shares takes away affordable accommodation from the market.
But Tendring’s cabinet member for housing, Paul Honeywood, said he is delighted with the results of the measures.
“While it is still early days we have had six months without someone trying to convert a property into an HMO which has to be good news,” he said. “This has particularly been an issue in Clacton in the past but it was also a problem in other parts of Tendring.
“I believe that we have been able to bring in that very important measure of control and it is making a difference and will continue to do so.”
However, chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, Alan Ward, said: “There is no proof HMOs cause anti-social behaviour.
“Controlling the market like this a form of social engineering – multiple occupancy properties are the type of accommodation that students, nurses and young teachers need.”