Tougher rules on shared homes in bid to preserve some of Portsmouth's 'balanced' communities

A new policy for HMOs has been approved by Portsmouth City Council
A new policy for HMOs has been approved by Portsmouth City Council
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TOUGHER rules on shared homes will give the city council power to stop streets being overrun in a bid to preserve ‘balanced’ communities.

Portsmouth City Council has approved amendments to its planning document, meaning developers of homes in multiple occupancy (HMOs) for more than six people will have to prove they will not negatively impact the surrounding area.

This will match rules that already exist for smaller shared homes.

Owners will now have to prove they will not create extra noise and leave piles of bin bags in the streets.

Applications will still be affected by a policy to stop more than 10 per cent of homes being HMOs within a 50 metre radius. But officers expect there will be more refusals.

Portsmouth City Council's city development cabinet member, Councillor Steve Pitt, approved the new policy at a meeting yesterday.

He said: ‘It's not so much about toughening up it's about making the rules relevant.

READ MORE: Find out how many shared homes are in your road

‘What we had before was a blanket refusal for sui generis HMOs - that's more than six people - where the 10 per cent rule was already exceeded.

‘Under planning law if we have a policy of blanket refusal they don't like that because each application has to be considered on its own merits.’

There are currently 4,306 HMOs in the city out of 91,082 properties.

Although just over half of roads in Portsmouth have no HMOs, several in Somers Town and Southsea have around 70 per cent.

Cllr Pitt added: 'If we find that we are getting more noise complaints, an increase in the amount of rubbish or an increase in black bins left outside HMOs this can all be used as a reason to say no to an application.

'And if they can't prove they've got somewhere to put rubbish properly, like the right size bin, we can say no.'

READ MORE: Landlords say shared homes are not a problem

In some areas of the city larger HMOs that have been extended are a problem.

Chairman of the East St Thomas Neighbourhood Forum, Martin Willoughby, said: ‘Unfortunately because of the huge profits that developers can make from student HMOs in areas like St Thomas, we are now being blighted by super HMOs.'

The council also has an enforcement team that goes out and speaks to HMO residents about their waste management among other issues.