What is a HMO?
Local HMO Plans
Ten Point Plan
Leeds HMO Lobby
Use Classes Order
Taxation of HMOs
Students & Community
National HMO Lobby
DCLG Housing Research Summary
Dealing with 'Problem' Private Rented Housing
provides details of the findings and conclusions drawn from the
experiences of a number of pilot projects undertaken by local authorities
keen to explore ways to address 'problem' private renting. It is
significant in a number of ways.
First of all, it is the first time a government publication has
publicly acknowledged that student housing is a problem. It notes
for instance that Canterbury "is beginning to experience a
problem with its student population ... the 'swamping' of areas
with student households has begun to concern residents and members
Secondly, it also notes that this particular problem can be solved
by purpose-built accommodation. "In Salford, the trend of decline
in the private rented sector has not abated since the collapse of
the student market in the 1990s, following the shift to purpose-built
accommodation by the University" [p5]. (But a solution to studentification
leads to a new problem of destudentification! This may have a good
deal to do with the desirability [or otherwise] of the studentified
Thirdly, the Summary provides useful support for the designation
of studentified areas for Additional HMO Licensing.
# The government has hitherto associated problems in the private
sector with 'areas of low demand'. Accordingly, "the programme
was originally focused on areas of low housing demand. However,
the focus of the research was later widened to include local authorities
with problem private rented housing in areas of higher demand"
[p1]. So high-demand areas can now be legitimate candidates for
concern. The Summary amplifies the point: "there is evidence
to suggest that in some neighbourhoods housing markets have become
unbalanced; that owner occupiers can no longer compete for properties;
and that an increased proportion of privately rented properties
exacerbates problems of poor management and anti-social behaviour"
# One cause of such high demand is student housing. The case of
Canterbury makes this point [p6].
# Different types of anti-social behaviour (a major motivation for
HMO licensing) are acknowledged - not just serious asb. In Swindon,
for instance, "anti social behaviour falls into two categories:
noise nuisance and rubbish problems, mostly associated with students;
and more serious asb ..." [p12]. In Canterbury, "most
of the reported ASB consists of student linked noise nuisance and
litter problems" [p12].
# The government's preferred response to these sorts of problems
is voluntary accreditation schemes ("Canterbury is now introducing
an accreditation scheme specifically for student lettings"
[p6]). But the Summary admits serious problems with such schemes.
"The rise and rise of the investor-led market has changed the
profile of landlords and managing agents operating in the area,
and made the task of identifying the main owners more difficult
for the local authority" [p5]. And "in higher demand markets,
there may be little peer pressure or market advantage to encourage
landlords to participate in accreditation, and the leverage of the
local authority may be reduced as a result" [p7]. This all
indicates that a voluntary approach is inadequate, and licensing
is necessary instead.
So, this Summary may provide valuable support - if you are trying
to get your council to acknowledge studentification as a problem;
if you are trying to propose alternatives to concentrations of shared
student housing; and if you are trying to get your council to introduce
Additional HMO Licensing.
National HMO Lobby