March 7, 2013, by offcampus
Additional Licensing for Houses In Multiple Occupation Consultation
Nottingham City Council is currently running a consultation on a proposal to designate an area of Nottingham for additional licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The consultation is running from 25th February to 20th May 2013 and you can have your say about the proposal by completing an online questionnaire here.
So, what’s this all about and why are we writing about it on the Off Campus blog?
An HMO is what you might know as a shared house, and many University of Nottingham students who live off campus decide to move into HMOs. Currently, any HMO with three or more storeys which houses at least five people has to have a license. The Council’s proposal is to extend licensing in certain parts of the city, including some areas in which many students choose to live, to make the majority of privately rented HMOs subject to licensing. You can check out the areas the Council is looking at on page 14 of their Proposal Report for Consultation.
What would additional licensing actually involve?
Landlords would be required to apply for a license for each HMO they own. The license would last for five years and would have conditions attached to it regarding management of the property, health and safety issues and anti-social behaviour. There would be a fee payable by the landlord for each license. Landlords who failed to apply for a license would be fined.
Why does the Council want to introduce Additional Licensing?
Nottingham City Council believes that Additional Licensing, alongside existing initiatives, will help to combat the following issues:
- Bins on the street
- Noise complaints
- Housing disrepair and overcrowding
- Refuse accumulations
- Land/buildings detrimental to the amenity
- Anti-social behaviour
- Landlord/tenant/neighbour disputes
The proposed designated area has been chosen by looking at data surrounding complaints about the above issues.
The Council lists the following intended benefits to the scheme:
- A reduction in complaints
- Protection of the health, safety and welfare of tenants
- The community will benefit from reduced HMO-related problems
- Better management and eventually better quality private rented accommodation
- Licensing will require landlords to take a professional approach to managing their properties
- The Promotion of licensed and accredited landlords and the quality accommodation they offer
- Additional licensing will bring a number of properties to the Council’s attention that would otherwise have gone undetected
What are the potential outcomes of the consultation?
The scheme could be implemented, with or without amendments based upon the consultation, or it could be decided that the additional licensing is unnecessary, in which case the scheme would not go ahead.
We’d encourage you to have a look at the consultation documents for yourself and see what you think – there are students living in some of these areas and it could affect you – and then complete the brief online questionnaire to share your thoughts on the proposals with the Council.