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Councils are imposing arcane planning rules in an attempt to stop student landlords opening new shared houses.
Landlords in Portsmouth face a seemingly impossible rule – they cannot switch a family home to a shared house if the number of shared houses in any area is already 10% or more of the number of homes.
One student redevelopment has already been rejected because of the rule as the seven-person house would have meant 30% of houses on the street would be HMOs (Houses in multiple occupation).
The HMO planning strategy is part of a citywide development blueprint before the Communities and Local Government Department for approval. Although the CLG has yet to comment on the rule, the council can impose the guideline until it is approved or rejected.
The 10% rule was introduced after complaints by residents about the growing number of shared homes in some neighbourhoods.
Councillor Lee Hunt, who sits on the city’s planning committee, said: “We have struggled with this issue for a long time. We can’t remove the houses which have already been converted, but we can stop too many more conversions.”
Oxford City Council also has an odd rule that states an HMO cannot gain planning permission if the development pushes the ratio of shared houses to other homes above 20 per cent of any 100 metre stretch of kerbside.
Meanwhile in Hull, students have started a petition against their Council’s plan to introduce special planning measures to restrict the number of shared houses in the city. The ruling will apply to homes neighbouring the University of Hull campus. Students claim the move could cause housing problems and lead to young adults reconsidering whether to study in the city.
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