Landlords say shared homes are 'no more a problem' than other housing in Portsmouth

Montgomerie Road in Southsea which has almost 50 per cent HMOs. Picture: Fiona Callingham
Montgomerie Road in Southsea which has almost 50 per cent HMOs. Picture: Fiona Callingham
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LANDLORDS have hit back at claims shared homes in Portsmouth lead to problems with rubbish and anti-social behaviour, arguing they are ‘no more a problem’ than other houses.

A recent investigation by The News revealed that four out of 10 roads in Portsmouth contain at least one house in multiple occupancy (HMO).

In total there are 4,306 known HMOs in the city out of 91,082 homes. And in high density areas some residents have complained about noise and rubbish in the streets and claimed they are ‘squeezing families out of the city.’

But for members of the Portsmouth and District Private Landlords Association (PDPLA) housing issues in the city weren’t limited to HMOs.

Chairman of the PDPLA, Martin Silman, said: ‘Residents believe all HMOs are terrible.

‘But the figures we have suggest they are no more a problem – and sometimes less so – than other homes in the city.

‘There are far more issues in certain council estates because they house a lot of vulnerable tenants.’

A house in multiple occupancy governing board was re-established by Portsmouth council last autumn in a bid to tackle any problems tenants, landlords and neighbours might have.

Recent data from the board revealed that just 11 per cent of all housing complaints made last year were due to shared homes.

And between June and August this year the council received 68 complaints about rubbish, of which 16 related to HMOs.

Currently local housing allowance – or housing benefit – for single people in Portsmouth is only £299.17 a month, which would not cover anything more than a room in a shared home.

Mr Silman added: ‘I believe we need HMOs in the city – under 35-year-olds on benefits have no choice but to live in shared accommodation and this category includes those who have grown up in care and also military veterans struggling to fit into normal life as well as a whole range of other vulnerable groups, so this is not all about students.

‘Ever increasing standards do push rents up which hits these more vulnerable groups far more than others.

‘I’d add that we are dependent on those who live in HMOs for much of our workforce.’