Time for a rethink over houses of multiple occupation in Warwick district?

Closer scrutiny will be given to policies and arrangements for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and those who own them across Leamington.

Friday, 9th September 2016, 2:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 5:03 pm

Warwick District Council has formed a task-and-finish group to review the effectiveness of the council’s current policies and arrangements regarding these homes.

The group of councillors are gathering evidence from residents who live in areas with high concentrations of HMOs - especially in Leamington’s Old Town - and also the tenants themselves.

An important part of the research is a survey of landlords of these properties.

The council says it is hoped that this information will determine whether additional measures are required to improve the licensing and management of these homes “for the benefit of all”.

One group which has raised concerns about the growing number of HMOs in its area is SoLAR (South Leamington Area Residents).

Members are supporting the task-and-finish group’s work and have made representations to councillors.

SoLAR said: “Students are often blamed for the anti-social behaviour, noise and rubbish associated with HMOs, but some responsibility must also lie with those landlords who pack large numbers of students into poorly maintained houses without 
exercising any management controls.

“We urge the council to ensure that landlords of licensed HMOs enforce the terms of those licences, such as night-time noise prohibitions, that it explores ways that landlords or their tenants in HMOs could pay for the council services they use - students don’t pay council tax and landlords don’t pay business rates - and that a licensing scheme for all HMOs, not just large ones as at present, be implemented.”

Cllr Kristie Naimo, of the task-and-finish group, said members are urging landlords and agents to take part in the group’s research.

The landlord’s survey is available on the Warwick District Council website.