Another council unveils HMO crackdown

Another council unveils HMO crackdown

9:26 AM, 8th September 2022, About 4 weeks ago 3

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Residents in one council area are being asked to have their say on a proposed crackdown on new HMOs.

Blackburn with Darwen Council is looking to impose a ban on properties being changed into HMOs without applying for planning permission.

The process is called an ‘Article 4 Direction’ and the local authority wants to introduce the rule right across the borough.

‘We want the best for our residents’

Coun Quesir Mahmood, the council’s executive member for growth and development, said: “We are proud to be a growing borough and we want the best for our residents, including quality housing.

“In the last 12 years, we’ve seen a massive increase in HMOs in our borough from 129 to almost 400.

“Currently, we estimate that there are around 1,000 bed spaces in HMOs in Blackburn with Darwen which is far more than our neighbouring boroughs and disproportionate to our local needs.”

He added: “Due to the number of beds, it often means that people – many being incredibly vulnerable – are brought from outside of the borough to one of these HMOs and it’s putting a huge strain on services for our residents.”

HMOs only being agreed in ‘exceptional circumstances’

Coun Mahmood explained that Article 4 Directions have proven successful in wards across the borough with HMOs only being agreed in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Now, due to the increase in HMO numbers, the council wants to roll out the restrictions to cover the whole borough.

Coun Mahmood said: “Outside of those areas with an existing Article 4 Direction in place, property owners can change what tend to be large family homes into HMOs without consent as planning permission isn’t needed.

“This new rule would stop that by requiring a planning application so the council can make a considered decision on a proposed HMO.

“It would mean we could take a much tougher stance on HMOs, which we know can be a magnet for anti-social behaviour and often are in need of improved standards.”

HMOs have a ‘negative impact on our borough’

The council says that HMOs are ‘incredibly lucrative’ but their number is having a ‘negative impact on our borough’.

Coun Mahmood added: “We want to take action to stop that.

“The Article 4 Direction is one way we can look to crackdown, but we also need Government to act or give us new powers to address standards, licensing and the regulation of this sector.”



Comments

Paul Essex View Profile

9:30 AM, 8th September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Hmm - if those bed spaces are disproportionate to to their needs I guess there are no waiting lists or homeless hostels in the area!

DSR

9:46 AM, 8th September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

clearly Darwin and Blackburn are the Promised Land where there are no housing issues.

No wonder people want to move in....

Ian Narbeth View Profile

10:29 AM, 8th September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

"[W]e estimate that there are around 1,000 bed spaces in HMOs in Blackburn with Darwen which is far more than our neighbouring boroughs and disproportionate to our local needs.”

If there is no local need for them, landlords will find they have vacancies and/or have to drop their rents substantially to attract tenants. They will then either sell or convert back to single private lettings. How arrogant of the Councillor to think he can tell people they won't be able to live in HMOs because he knows better than they do what they need.

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