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Planning and HMOs

Not sure how we missed this really but the Department of Communities and Local Government has launched a consultation on possible changes in planning systems to deal with HMOs.

This consultation is in response to an increase in HMOs in parts of the country and the tendency for these to be grouped together in small areas. This is sometimes referred to as “studentification”.

The current method of control of HMOs involves the licensing of larger properties. However, there is no power to refuse a licence on the basis that there are a large number of other HMOs in the same area. The problem is made worse by the fact that student naturally wish to cluster and the type of property suitable for conversion naturally tends to be built in blocks.

There is an aspect in which this is a bit ironic in that many of the issues with concentrations of HMOs are caused by the growth of educational institutions and the need to house the resulting large numbers of students. The government encouraged this but made no effort to ensure that the growing establishments provided suitable accommodation for there students. Therefore the private sector has tended to take up the slack. For the government and local authorities to complain about this now is a little unfair and is largely illustration of a failure to properly consider all the consequences of unchecked growth in higher education establishments.

In any event, the consultation ends on 7 August 2009.

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