COMMENT: Striking the right balance is key with HMOs

The current state of the housing and rental sector means that houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are an absolute necessity in any big city.

For the majority of young people living day by day in the city, the dream of owning their own place will be something that they will have to save and work hard for, so HMOs offer that lifeline for thousands just looking to get started in their career.

As with any university city, there are always going to be tensions between students and families as to disruption, dealing with rubbish, parking and noise, and streets should, quite rightly, be managed in a way that does not lean towards favouring HMOs over private ownership.

Portsmouth City Council is right in its ambitions to seek a balance. HMOs are too important to the city’s future to be disregarded but they need to be monitored and controlled.

For young professionals moving to the city for the first time, an HMO can be their only option and their right to live in a shared property should not be disparaged.

Families should also not be left to deal with an urban sprawl of them in their area as that can breed discontent in the community, however the fact that dozens of them dominate small streets is something that needs to be placed under scrutiny.

Landlords may be queuing up to get their hands on properties to add a few extra beds but the importance of community and striking the right balance between shared accommodation and private ownership has got to be respected if the city is to address this issue and move forward in a positive light.

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