Crack down on HMOs. What do you think?

People in Bath are being given the chance to have their say on new proposals which seek to better manage the growth of HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) in the city.

The proposals have been drawn up in direct response to resident’s concerns about the proliferation of HMOs in parts of Bath and the impact it can have on the mix of available housing in the area.

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The proposals would mean that, unless there are other planning related considerations, applications for new HMOs would normally be refused in areas where 10% or more of properties have already been converted into multiple occupancy homes. Existing HMO’s will not be affected.

The proposals also introduce an additional test. A proposed HMO would be normally refused if it would result in a non-HMO dwelling being located directly between two HMOs. This aims to prevent the potential for negative impacts upon an existing dwelling due to it being sandwiched by two HMOs and to ensure that there is balance of housing types at street level.

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is, in principle, a house or flat which is occupied by three or more unrelated people who share facilities such as a kitchen and bathroom. Bath has seen a significant increase in HMOs and private rented property over the last 10-15 years with HMOs forming an important part of the local housing market, providing affordable accommodation for students, professionals and migrant workers among others.

Cllr Bob Goodman (Conservative, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Development, said: “These proposals are responding to the concerns raised by residents about the concentration and continued growth of HMOs in parts of Bath.  If adopted, these proposals would allow the Council to better manage the growth of HMOs and ensure we have a balanced mix of housing types across the city.

HMOs of course have an important role to play in our housing stock by providing affordable living accommodation for professionals as well as students, but we need to ensure there is a balance of housing types within communities across the city.  Our proposals are designed to meet the city’s needs while addressing the concerns that have been raised about concentrations of HMOs.

We now want to hear what local people think about the changes we are proposing, and so I would encourage residents and all interested parties to respond to the consultation.”

The consultation on the proposed changes runs for 6 weeks from 4th September – 13th October.

Background information will be available at the One Stop Shop at Lewis House in Manvers Street, the city’s libraries and the mobile library andwww.bathnes.gov.uk/hmo.

You can send your comments to planning_policy@bathnes.gov.uk or online http://www.bathnes.gov.uk.

Following the consultation a final decision on whether to implement the proposals will be made in November.