Shared accommodation under review

Published: 21 September 2022

Housing estate

An aerial view of houses in Derby

Derby City Council’s planning team is carrying out a review of homes which have been converted into shared accommodation to see whether it needs more powers to regulate them.

There is a growing market in the city for Houses in Multiple Occupancy, or HMOs, but some residents are concerned that too many in one area can create problems such as a lack of parking, anti-social behaviour such as fly tipping, and the deterioration of the buildings.

Currently anyone who wants to convert a house into accommodation for six or more people needs planning permission, but this isn’t the case where the house will have fewer residents.

To change this, the Council would need to apply for an Article 4 Direction under the Town and Country Planning act, which can only be granted if the Secretary of State is satisfied there is evidence that smaller HMOs are causing harm, in planning terms, to the local area.

Arboretum ward is one area of the city where there are a lot of HMOs and is being used as a test area to see where shared properties are concentrated and whether they are creating problems on the street.

Councillor Steve Hassall, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Decarbonisation, Strategic Planning and Transport, said:

Concentrations of Houses in Multiple Occupation have provoked a wider response from the local residents unhappy about changes in their area. In recognition of this, and in conjunction with the Chair and Vice Chair of Planning Committee, as a cross party initiative, I’ve agreed that Arboretum ward will be the focus of a more in depth study with a view to seeking further planning controls.

This will provide the starting point to more accurately understand the elements attributed to this growing housing sector. However, we also have to be aware that there are other factors at play. We have landlords who keep their properties in excellent order, whereas other properties are poorly maintained, so we are actively looking at what can be done to raise standards in the HMO sector.

The review is expected to take several months to provide the necessary evidence.

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