Council seeks views on ‘homes in multiple occupancy’

649

Residents from across Lincoln are being urged to have their say as the city council explores the options to deal with the increasing number of houses in multiple occupation in the city.

The review follows a 1,100 name petition presented to the full council in August calling for an Article 4 direction to be introduced in the West End – the area of the city where the density of HMOs is highest.

An Article 4 direction would give the council more control over the amount and location of HMOs, as it would mean home owners and property developers would need to apply for planning permission to convert a house into a HMO.

Members of the council’s Policy Scrutiny Committee determined the scope of work and consultation to be carried out at a meeting on September 24, ahead of exploring the options available and making a recommendation at a meeting of the committee on November 12.

At this meeting, representatives from specific groups will be invited to present evidence, including ward members, neighbourhood boards, residents’ associations, the Residential Landlords’ Association, Lincolnshire Police and the universities and colleges in the city.

Written representations can be sent during a four-week period ending on Friday 24th October, and anyone wishing to speak at the meeting needs to let the council know in advance, to ensure there will be time for everyone to be heard.

Cllr Chris Burke, Chair of the council’s Policy Scrutiny Committee, says: “HMOs provide an important source of private rented accommodation, particularly for people on low incomes, students, young professionals and migrant workers.

“However, such properties can present issues around the maintenance and also the loss of community due to the transient nature of some residents. There can also be issues with noise and parking, due to the number of people living in one property.

“Clearly the volume and location of HMOs, and the issues associated with these, is something many residents feel passionate about.

“The council has agreed to consider the option of introducing an Article 4 direction, but we also need to consider what effects this might have and what the alternatives are.

“We would need to support an application for an Article 4 direction with robust evidence justifying its purpose and extent, to ensure we could overcome any challenges to it.

“There is a clear need to manage the overall volume and concentration of HMOs in the city and we are hoping for the widest possible participation from across the city as we take positive steps to address this situation.”

Written representations, on no more than two sides of A4 paper, can be sent to Democratic Services, City Hall, Beaumont Fee, Lincoln, LN1 1DD or democraticservices@lincoln.gov.uk

You can also take a survey online at www.lincoln.gov.uk/hmoconsultation