Pondering Article Four – Stick It On The Students!Make Text Bigger
I was going to write a piece about what to do when an HMO tenant goes AWOL (Absent Without Leave) and disappears off the face the earth. As an “exciting” read as that sounds, I’d rather pick up on the Article 4 directive that has been publicised today.
Over the last six months quite a few colleagues have pointed me towards Article 4 and I’ve now been forced to put down my copy of “100 interesting facts about being a landlord” and read this piece of legislation properly. I’m now firmly sitting on the fence opinion-wise.
I agree with some of the comments about Article 4 resulting in social engineering and cleansing and can see how, if the policy were introduced across the country, the Government/council could appear guilty of this action. However, people who live in HMOs are from broad cultural, social and financial backgrounds and it annoys me that it’s assumed they’re all on Housing Benefit and ne’er-do-wells. To be fair, some are, but 90% of my tenants work hard, save their money for bigger and better things and don’t want to live next door to anti-social neighbours either. As for lack of community- I have one HMO tenant who uses his pensioners 10% off Wednesday at B&Q so his garden could be in the running for the Daily Mail Garden competition! All my long-term HMO tenants are house proud and are often found chatting over the garden fence with the neighbours.
If you put all the bad ‘uns in a community together you make a ghetto – isn’t it a good idea to have a mix of people and ideologies who may learn from each other?
There’s an area round the corner from my home full of elegant, Victorian three storey houses in a crescent which has managed to escape any kind of regeneration or mapping as an up and coming area. My friend, a midwife, rents a house there with her three children and tells me that, whilst she used to have to wear ear plugs whilst she slept at night to ward off the drunken rants outside, she’s now having to wear them during the day as well if she’s on night shift. She says this is due to the amount of houses being turned into HMOs around her and the lack of respect for the community as neighbours are so transient.
Personally, I believe student HMOs are the biggest culprits in noise and anti-social behaviour. Remember when you were post-pubescent, legally allowed to consume vast amounts of alcohol and thought that putting a traffic cone on a chimney pot was one of the most hilarious acts alongside stretching cling film over the toilet seat so your roomies splashed themselves? Working (and some non working) HMO tenants tend to have grown out of pranks that disturb the neighbours and are as keen for a safe, quiet community and home owners.
In the middle
The house I now live in used to be an HMO until I rehomed everyone and refurbished it for my family. The neighbours say that, with three children, a dog and a cat, we’re far noisier than the HMO tenants and, as you’ll see from this post, we’re bigger consumers of the earth’s resources! Seriously though, it’s not NIMBYism but I wouldn’t want to live in a street of HMOs and am delighted that my neighbours are far more tolerant than I am!
By all means apply Article 4, but if it were down to me I’d limit it to student properties.
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