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Cabinet agrees student homes crackdown in Worcester
A CRACKDOWN on student homes has been agreed by the city council’s leadership - with bosses saying it is aimed at creating “cohesive” neighbourhoods.
Councillor Marc Bayliss, the authority’s deputy leader, insisted the move was “not an attack on students” and was aimed at taking control over how city streets develop.
During a meeting of the Conservative cabinet last night, he said the “implications” of too many houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) impacts on property values and anti-social behaviour.
The rule change means anyone who wants to turn a house into a HMO, which is a property rented out to three people or more, must apply to the council for a ‘change of use’ first.
Coun Bayliss said: “This is not an attack on students, it’s not anti-students, it’s about creating cohesive neighbourhoods in the city.
“I think it’s a sensible approach because we do want a fair, balanced mix of communities - we know the implications of HMOs on the value of properties, on anti-social behaviour, on cohesion, and this helps us manage it.
“This is about the council taking a legitimate role in building communities.”
Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader, added: “We don’t want to reach saturation point - there are streets where people have genuine concerns about the character of an area being changed because there are too many HMOs.
“We need to strike a balance between the different needs of the city, and this is a measured approach.”
The move is going out for public consultation for four weeks and will then come into force from the summer of 2014, to give landlords time to gear up to the changes.
From that point, any property owners seeking to turn a home into a HMO must lodge an application to the council’s planning department.
If nearby residents object to an application, they can make representations to the planning committee, which has the right to throw out a landlord’s bid.
The planning committee was consulted over it last month and backed it.
* For more on this story see your Worcester News tomorrow.