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Landlords hit out at student housing curb
A BODY representing landlords has hit out at Worcester City Council’s attempt to crack down on student houses.
The National Landlords Association (NLA) says the move will push up rental prices for non-students in the city – and insists it will fail to solve the “social problems” the authority is trying to tackle. Under the policy anyone who wants to turn a property into a house of multiple occupation (HMO), which is a property rented out to three people or more, must apply to the council for a ‘change of use’ first.
Don Robbie, the NLA’s Worcester representative, said: “The University of Worcester relies on private lettings to meet the housing demand. By limiting this, students will be pushed into areas outside the city.
“Other tenants seeking shared accommodation within Worcester will also find availability increasingly limited and more expensive.
“This will not resolve the social issues upon which the council has based this.
“The NLA has concerns around the introduction of this at a time when changes to the welfare system are imminent and demand for shared housing is high in the area. The increased competition for property may have an adverse effect on low income households.
“This is not the time to restrict affordable shared housing – the council has existing powers to deal with the associated problems that can come with letting properties of this type.”
The council says the move, known as Article 4, is in response to genuine concerns about the character of entire areas changing.
Chiefs say by having control over where HMOs go, it will ensure better community cohesion and keep property values high.
Councillor Marc Bayliss said: “Our aim is not to reduce the number of houses of multiple occupancy, but to ensure there is some control and public consultation over where HMOs are. We want to avoid a situation where there is too great a concentration of them in any one area of the city.
“We think it will be better for students, other people who live in HMOs and residents of Worcester if we have a wider spread of these properties and more mixed local communities.”
He said the council is working hard with the university to make it a success.