Leeds HMO Lobby


Leeds HMO Lobby

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Studentification in Leeds

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National HMO Lobby

Leeds HMO Lobby



Student Accommodation & Affordable Housing
in Leeds

1 Student Housing Demand Despite their economic benefits, the presence of two large universities in Leeds places a significant burden on the city's housing stock.
1.1 The great majority of students requiring accommodation in Leeds find it through the conversion of family homes into shared houses. Thus, several thousand houses, which could be primary residential homes, instead become seasonal second homes for students. These houses are thereby lost to the general housing market for residents, reducing the affordability and availability of those which are left.
1.2 Furthermore, student demand is focussed on a small part of the city, Inner NW Leeds. Not only are family houses in this area lost in very high numbers - but also the high demand inflates housing prices, making properties both unavailable and disproportionately unaffordable.

2 Student Housing Supply Most students in Leeds are accommodated in converted shared houses. Some are accommodated in purpose-built developments.
2.1 In general, purpose-built development reduces the pressure for conversion of existing stock, from residential to student housing. In principle, purpose-built developments for students should be encouraged as a contribution to housing provision in Leeds.
2.2 However, this is not necessarily the case in the high-demand area of Inner NW Leeds. Experience shows that purpose-built developments attract conversion of houses in the vicinity. At best therefore purpose-built developments leave the demographic imbalance of the area un-touched (students simply move sideways into the purpose-built developments). At worst, it aggravates the problem, by increasing student housing settlement. Purpose-built developments in this area should therefore be resisted.

3 Student Housing Market The impact of student accommodation on affordable housing in Leeds justifies intervention in the housing market by planning policies.
3.1 Policy H15 of the RUDP resists further loss of residential stock in the Area of Housing Mix in Inner NW Leeds. Its value is limited until the Use Classes Order relating to HMOs is amended. Leeds HMO Lobby therefore welcomes the Council's lobbying for change.
3.2 Policy H15A of the RUDP encourages purpose-built developments outside the Area of Housing Mix, relieving demand for residential stock. The Lobby regrets that the Policy has not been more effectively pursued through Area Action Plans, contrary to the commitment in the Response to the Inspector's Report on the UDP Review. The Lobby recommends more active promotion of purpose-built developments, along the lines of Newcastle's Interim Planning Guidance on Purpose Built Student Accommodation (2007).
3.3 SPG3 on Affordable Housing has a bearing on the student housing market. Purpose-built development for students has hitherto been exempt from affordable housing provision. As such, this encourages purpose-built developments, and the exemption is in general supported by the Lobby. The Lobby regrets therefore the withdrawal of this exemption on 6 December 2007, as a discouragement of purpose-built development - which by its very existence contributes to affordable housing, by enabling the return of stock from seasonal housing to the general residential market.
3.4 The Lobby would however support a requirement for affordable housing from any purpose-built developments approved within the Area of Housing Mix. This would both discourage further student housing in an already un-balanced area, and where permitted, would at least provide affordable housing for settled residents.
3.5 Furthermore, the Lobby recommends that any purpose-built developments within the Area of Housing Mix are subject to the condition that the affordable housing is provided off-site from surplus student houses. This may be from the developer's own portfolio as a landlord, or by arrangement between the developer and landlords with surplus properties.

Leeds HMO Lobby, 4 February 2008


Leeds HMO Lobby
email: hmolobby@hotmail.com website: www.hmolobby.org.uk/leeds