Rule change ‘will lead to rise in homelessness’

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LANDLORDS say a rule change for renting out properties for shared housing could create a surge in homelessness.

Under new plans approved by Portsmouth City Council, landlords wanting to change rental of their property from a family to a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO), will need planning permission.

The change comes into force from November 1 this year, and is hoped will reduce the number of shared housing areas in central areas of Portsmouth.

Ken Staunton, representative for Hampshire branch of the National Landlords Association, said: ‘Some residents attributed noise and rubbish to shared houses, so the council have decided to limit the amount of shared housing. The reduction will mean people like students and young professionals will be forced to move out of these areas and look at housing in other areas. This in turn could push out families living in rented property because there will be a greater demand.

‘The council will end up paying a fortune having to put these families into bed and breakfasts and could cause homelessness.’

But Cllr Mike Hancock, who is in charge of the policy, said: ‘I listened very carefully to what landlords had to say, but they can’t have it all their way. This is a step in the right direction. We will review the process 12 months after we start it and then we’ll see if it has affected the landlords as much as they said it will.’