Portsmouth city council looks at clampdown on shared HMO housing

NEW restrictions could be imposed on shared houses in the city to meet residents' concerns surrounding waste and parking.

Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 1:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 1:09 pm
Portsmouth City Council is looking at restricting the number of HMOs

Portsmouth councillors will decide whether to approve plans that would limit houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) to no more than two in a row, as well as prevent them 'sandwiching' residential homes in between.

The proposals came following a consultation last year in which residents and groups believed several HMOs on a street could cause disruption.

Main reasons listed for this were the impact on local resources, reduced house prices of neighbouring properties due to poor maintenance of HMOs, excessive rubbish and noise.

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Some were also concerned that allow three or more HMOs in a row would negatively impact on the character of an area and add to existing parking problems.

The council's head of regeneration, Cllr Ben Dowling, thought the changes could benefit the city. He said: 'This is all about creating a mixed and balanced community where we can have different types of households on our streets.

'The nature of having multiple people who aren't related living together creates more waste and more cars than the average family home. And often they are home to students or young professionals who can work long unsociable hours and come and go at different times in the day.

'This is something many residents have come to use with concerns about, particularly groups like the East St Thomas Residents' Forum who represent an area with many HMOs including streets like Fraser Road, Playfair Road, Pain's Road and Hudson Road. We have worked closely with them and I am pleased that this is something we could be able to change going forward.'

Commenting on the plans the East St Thomas Residents' Forum said: 'We are highly supportive of the proposals to prevent sandwiching and three in a row development.

'Most family households which become 'sandwiched' between student HMOs have experienced a major impact on their amenity. As such we are highly supportive of these restrictions being imposed irrelevant of the HMO density in the area.

'We would however like to see clarification in the drafting that HMO applications which sought to further sandwich a property would also not be permitted.'

However, Portsmouth and District Private Landlords Association did not agree with all of the recommendations. They said: 'Where HMO density is low it would seem more sensible to allow three in a row as only one property has an HMO neighbour. New HMOs have to be created somewhere and three in a row seems more sensible than more equal distribution where more people have to have HMOs as neighbours.'

The decision will be made at a planning, regeneration and economy meeting on July 31.