Student landlords voice concerns over planning moves

Landlords are concerned that a change in shared house licensing will limit the number of homes available for students at Worcester University.

The city council is considering an ‘article 4 direction’ that means landlords renting new homes shared by three to five students will need planning permission.

Landlords fear this will restrict the number of new shared houses in multiple occupation in the city, push up rents and lead to falling property prices.

Don Robbie, the National Landlords Association’s Worcester representative, said: “The university relies on private lettings to meet housing demand. By limiting this, students will be pushed into areas outside the city.

“Other tenants seeking shared accommodation within Worcester will also find availability increasingly limited and more expensive.

“This will not resolve the social issues upon which the council has based this.

Controlling HMOs

“The NLA has concerns around the introduction of this at a time when changes to the welfare system are imminent and demand for shared housing is high in the area. The increased competition for property may have an adverse effect on low income households.

“This is not the time to restrict affordable shared housing – the council has existing powers to deal with the associated problems that can come with letting properties of this type.”

The council argues the article 4 power will give them more control over where shared houses are located and will improve housing standards.

Councillor Marc Bayliss said: “Our aim is not to reduce the number HMOs, but to ensure there is some control and public consultation over where they are. We want to avoid a situation where there is too great a concentration of them in any one area of the city.

“We think it will be better for students, other people who live in HMOs and residents if we have a wider spread of these properties and more mixed local communities.”

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