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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
New review to help people living in houses in multiple occupation
Article Type: Newsbriefs From: Structural Survey, Volume 26, Issue 4
Keywords: HMOs, Government review
A new review aimed at improving the management and conditions of people living in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) has been launched by Housing and Planning Minister Caroline Flint. Concerns have been raised about the so called “studentification” of university towns with over concentrations of HMOs. Despite the clear economic benefits of students their dramatic growth in recent years (now almost 2.5 million) has seen housing problems increase in some towns.
Towns and cities including Nottingham, Southampton, Loughborough and Bristol have reported more empty properties during the summer meaning shops, businesses and pubs simply close down creating “ghost towns”. An over concentration of houses of multiple occupation in one area can have a negative impact on the neighbourhood and local public services. Student turnover is typically high, 52 per cent in Leeds for example, which can affect the sense of community as increasingly student landlords opt to concentrate properties ever closer together in university towns. Universities are already looking at ways to improve the situation. Many have invested heavily in new student halls, created community relations officers and Loughborough University now requires their students to sign a code of conduct. Students typically want to rent shared housing. New government rules mean they should be properly licensed to guarantee minimum living conditions and management standards. The new review will identify what more the planning system can do to create more effective management of HMOs for all tenants. It will feed into the private rented sector review announced in January which is already looking into standards of accommodation and the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants.