Crackdown on student digs is bad for our city

Worcester News: Crackdown on student digs is bad for our city Crackdown on student digs is bad for our city

A LANDLORD has delivered a withering attack on Worcester’s student homes crackdown – saying it is unfair on young people and will damage the city’s reputation.

The critic, who has asked to remain anonymous, owns 10 properties in the city and is a member of the National Landlords Association.

He told your Worcester News:

It will damage Worcester’s economy and keep house prices down.

It is “an attack on students” and sends out the wrong message to prospective university students.

It could slow down future housing development and encourage rogue landlords.

From next year the city council is to clamp down on the number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

It means landlords who want to turn a house into student accommodation or rent it to three or more tenants will have to apply for a ‘change of use’ first.

The change, approved by the city council’s ruling cabinet earlier this week, already had the backing of the planning committee, which insists it needs to protect the character of neighbourhoods at risk of being damaged by rows of student properties.

The landlord said: “There is a widely unchallenged perception about students, when in fact they are far less likely to get involved in crime than you or me.

“The planners want control over the city and my view is that it will be massively detrimental on Worcester as a whole.

“The number of students in Worcester is only going to increase – this is a timebomb. In my view, it will mean good landlords giving up and it will go underground.”

The city council says the move is “not an attack on students or the university”, but that it wants to avoid unwanted HMOs springing up.

Paul O’Connor, head of planning, said: “The council has high regard for the university and its students. It is a success story in recent years and we work hard with the university to promote its development. We also recognise that today’s student is tomorrow’s entrepreneur or public servant – they are important members of our community and add vibrancy to our city.”

Comments (18)

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6:58pm Fri 15 Feb 13

bmoc55 says...

No doubt this Landlord is letting to students.So he has an interest in talking down this sensible action by the Council.
Bet he doesn't live next door to them.
No doubt this Landlord is letting to students.So he has an interest in talking down this sensible action by the Council. Bet he doesn't live next door to them. bmoc55
  • Score: 0

7:57pm Fri 15 Feb 13

goodygoody says...

This Landlord owns 10 student lets so would obviously object. Me, I lived near many of these student lets in St John's and it was a complete nightmare and eventually decided to move to an area where, thankfully, there are no students.
This Landlord owns 10 student lets so would obviously object. Me, I lived near many of these student lets in St John's and it was a complete nightmare and eventually decided to move to an area where, thankfully, there are no students. goodygoody
  • Score: 0

1:48am Sat 16 Feb 13

padlock4200 says...

It may come as a shock to people living in Worcester that there is a bombardment of students moving in... But with the county in tatters over finances already, the students bring in money that is otherwise missed.

Not all students are bad and you'll find that a lot of them want a quiet lifestyle - like you do.

Yes, we go out and party in town... But I'm sure that you like to have a good time too and students living next door to you respect that.
It is unfair to slate students and cut down on the number of HMO's. If the City Council want to regulate the number of HMO's in the City - put in a process where you can monitor any ones that don't match up to the legal standard.

Shame on Worcester and it's residents - you'll thank the University when there are more jobs and shops on the high street because more money is being pumped into the local economy!!
It may come as a shock to people living in Worcester that there is a bombardment of students moving in... But with the county in tatters over finances already, the students bring in money that is otherwise missed. Not all students are bad and you'll find that a lot of them want a quiet lifestyle - like you do. Yes, we go out and party in town... But I'm sure that you like to have a good time too and students living next door to you respect that. It is unfair to slate students and cut down on the number of HMO's. If the City Council want to regulate the number of HMO's in the City - put in a process where you can monitor any ones that don't match up to the legal standard. Shame on Worcester and it's residents - you'll thank the University when there are more jobs and shops on the high street because more money is being pumped into the local economy!! padlock4200
  • Score: 0

3:32am Sat 16 Feb 13

Saturn V says...

"Not all students are bad ..."

Of course not.

"Shame on Worcester and it's residents."

But Worcester and it's residents are?
"Not all students are bad ..." Of course not. "Shame on Worcester and it's residents." But Worcester and it's residents are? Saturn V
  • Score: 0

11:10am Sat 16 Feb 13

Frenchierat says...

As a resident of St Johns and living in close proximity to the University I am fully aware of the impact the influx of students is having on the local area. I agree that whilst not all students "are bad", there are an awful lot of them who have little or no respect for those living around them, especially when they are very drunk and its the early hours of the morning.

I would guess that the landlord that made the comments in the article doesn't get woken at 3.30 in the morning by a young man (who lives in student acc opposite to my house) howling like a banshee as he cant get into his house. Well I was woken up as were a number of my neighbours (and this is not the first time such things have happened) and it is not particularly funny. Perhaps I could have the phone numbers of local landlords and call them whenever I am woken by their tenants, see if they like it.
As a resident of St Johns and living in close proximity to the University I am fully aware of the impact the influx of students is having on the local area. I agree that whilst not all students "are bad", there are an awful lot of them who have little or no respect for those living around them, especially when they are very drunk and its the early hours of the morning. I would guess that the landlord that made the comments in the article doesn't get woken at 3.30 in the morning by a young man (who lives in student acc opposite to my house) howling like a banshee as he cant get into his house. Well I was woken up as were a number of my neighbours (and this is not the first time such things have happened) and it is not particularly funny. Perhaps I could have the phone numbers of local landlords and call them whenever I am woken by their tenants, see if they like it. Frenchierat
  • Score: 0

2:27pm Sat 16 Feb 13

padlock4200 says...

The fact there is a University in this city is a good thing, and no one in their right mind can deny that!!
Doesn't everyone like going out for a drink at some point?? The fact it's 'young people/students' makes everyone's back flare up. And the City Council say "they are important members of our community and add vibrancy to our city"... So I think people need to stop pointing out the drink 'problem' and look at if you don't control where students live in the city when it comes to HMO's - you can't control where they live, thus causing more nuisance to the local neighbourhood. As the landlord in the article says - the number of students will only increase in this city and that means they have to live somewhere. If you have a spare room, why not give it up to a student and help to curb the 'problems'?? Your house, your rules... And there is a shortage of housing in Worcester for students so it works two ways!!
The fact there is a University in this city is a good thing, and no one in their right mind can deny that!! Doesn't everyone like going out for a drink at some point?? The fact it's 'young people/students' makes everyone's back flare up. And the City Council say "they are important members of our community and add vibrancy to our city"... So I think people need to stop pointing out the drink 'problem' and look at if you don't control where students live in the city when it comes to HMO's - you can't control where they live, thus causing more nuisance to the local neighbourhood. As the landlord in the article says - the number of students will only increase in this city and that means they have to live somewhere. If you have a spare room, why not give it up to a student and help to curb the 'problems'?? Your house, your rules... And there is a shortage of housing in Worcester for students so it works two ways!! padlock4200
  • Score: 0

2:31pm Sat 16 Feb 13

padlock4200 says...

...and also without students in this town, you wouldn't of had the investment of lots of money in this city to build up St Johns campus The Hive, City Campus and the Arena... Which all bring jobs (or will do) to the local community!!
...and also without students in this town, you wouldn't of had the investment of lots of money in this city to build up St Johns campus The Hive, City Campus and the Arena... Which all bring jobs (or will do) to the local community!! padlock4200
  • Score: 0

2:54pm Sat 16 Feb 13

M@lvernite says...

I would disagree with the comment about students being "less likely to get involved with crime than you or me" - I would expect students to be much more likely to steal a traffic cone or become involved with drunk and disorderly behaviour, which are forms of crime.
It may be worth remembering it isn't only students who live in HMOs, but also workers on low wages; not everybody has the option of living with their parents until they can afford to buy their own house.
I would disagree with the comment about students being "less likely to get involved with crime than you or me" - I would expect students to be much more likely to steal a traffic cone or become involved with drunk and disorderly behaviour, which are forms of crime. It may be worth remembering it isn't only students who live in HMOs, but also workers on low wages; not everybody has the option of living with their parents until they can afford to buy their own house. M@lvernite
  • Score: 0

3:27pm Sat 16 Feb 13

catcostume says...

All these student sterotypes are hilarious. The traffic cone? Really?? I suppose someone was bound to come out with it.
All these student sterotypes are hilarious. The traffic cone? Really?? I suppose someone was bound to come out with it. catcostume
  • Score: 0

4:52pm Sat 16 Feb 13

Doogie 46 says...

There are downsides to most good things in life, and while universities do bring economic benefits to towns and cities, social benefits are sometimes not so good for people who like a quiet and undisturbed life.
My two sons were both students in the early nineties and collecting one at Easter I discoverd a council litter bin on the balcony of his top floor flat - he and his flatmates were a lovely bunch of lads but could misbehave at times.
I guess if you want the university you have to take the students, warts and all.
There are downsides to most good things in life, and while universities do bring economic benefits to towns and cities, social benefits are sometimes not so good for people who like a quiet and undisturbed life. My two sons were both students in the early nineties and collecting one at Easter I discoverd a council litter bin on the balcony of his top floor flat - he and his flatmates were a lovely bunch of lads but could misbehave at times. I guess if you want the university you have to take the students, warts and all. Doogie 46
  • Score: 0

10:10pm Sat 16 Feb 13

goodygoody says...

Vibrant city? What, because we have students living here? I don't think so. Shops are still closing down with or without students. They're probably too broke to spend too much anyway. Students are just, mostly, teenagers. And we've all been teenagers so know the game. At least their parents are having a bit of peace while they're living here!
Vibrant city? What, because we have students living here? I don't think so. Shops are still closing down with or without students. They're probably too broke to spend too much anyway. Students are just, mostly, teenagers. And we've all been teenagers so know the game. At least their parents are having a bit of peace while they're living here! goodygoody
  • Score: 0

3:22pm Sun 17 Feb 13

catcostume says...

goodygoody, 65% of students at University of Worcester are over 21. You can find that out on their website.
goodygoody, 65% of students at University of Worcester are over 21. You can find that out on their website. catcostume
  • Score: 0

4:22pm Sun 17 Feb 13

Franglaise says...

I've read, with great interest, all of these comments and would like to relate my experience of living in a large university town in France. The council in Worcester are absolutely right to clampdown on HMOs; I live in the centre of a town with a student population of over 60,000 and where student HMOs account for over 30% of the available housing in certain areas particularly the hyper centre. This has become a big problem as now there are few flats/houses available for families to buy or rent and has created rather 'unbalanced' communities. Landlords soon realised that the income from an HMO would be nearly double that of renting a house to single family or two families. While not all landlords are out to make easy money a significant proportion are and the HMOs are rapidly becoming, if not already, in a state of disrepair. The students for the most part work very hard and want peace and quiet from.... Sunday-Wednesday but they also know how to party. Thursday evenings are unbearable with parties and drinking in the streets until the early morning. The week for them is finished but they do not seem to respect the needs of others in the community. Fridays and Saturdays aren't much better. In my residence there are several doctors and solicitors as well as students who need to sleep in order to work properly the next day and their lives are becoming intolerable. As I'm writing this letter I am sitting opposite a flat with a traffic cone in the window! This has been used on many occasion by the residents to shout at other students roaming the streets. They are very friendly and polite in the daytime and if asked to turn the music down they usually do - for 10 minutes anyway! Many may be broke but an awful lot are able to buy enough drink to get drunk and cigarettes and fast food meals to drop the packets all over the place. It is pointless to say "if you do not like it then move." This is out of the question for most people, especially the elderly who have lived in the same areas when they were peaceful suburbs. It might well be that a student has only one party a year but with 30% students in the area then that means every week. All everybody wants - students and other residents alike is for the public space to respected by all i.e. no litter, no talking in loud voices in the street, no loud parties after midnight in a house with close neighbours. Is that too much to ask for? To live in harmony.To treat others as you would want to be treated. The problem is so huge here that the police are no longer able to cope and do not respond to complaints. It is a shame that not more student halls of residences are available. It would obviously be beneficial to the university to generate more income and the resulting accommodation would no doubt be better suited for studying and living. I realise,however, that this is not likely to happen. Some students here live in awful accommodation which does not appear to conform to safety regulations - in fact there have been several student deaths in recent years from house fires (usually carelessly thrown cigarette ends) and falls from balconies during parties. I hope that incidents like these will not happen in the beautiful city of Worcester but unless there is strict monitoring of HMOs, Codes of Conduct for all residents and also an effective complaints procedure put in place then it will be inevitable. It is true that the students and the university offer a great deal to the life and success of the towns both here and in France but I think that attention must be paid to the demographics of each community with the integration of people from all walks of life. But how to create that and mutual respect in a community is a difficult problem - a clampdown on too many HMOs would be a start maybe ?
I've read, with great interest, all of these comments and would like to relate my experience of living in a large university town in France. The council in Worcester are absolutely right to clampdown on HMOs; I live in the centre of a town with a student population of over 60,000 and where student HMOs account for over 30% of the available housing in certain areas particularly the hyper centre. This has become a big problem as now there are few flats/houses available for families to buy or rent and has created rather 'unbalanced' communities. Landlords soon realised that the income from an HMO would be nearly double that of renting a house to single family or two families. While not all landlords are out to make easy money a significant proportion are and the HMOs are rapidly becoming, if not already, in a state of disrepair. The students for the most part work very hard and want peace and quiet from.... Sunday-Wednesday but they also know how to party. Thursday evenings are unbearable with parties and drinking in the streets until the early morning. The week for them is finished but they do not seem to respect the needs of others in the community. Fridays and Saturdays aren't much better. In my residence there are several doctors and solicitors as well as students who need to sleep in order to work properly the next day and their lives are becoming intolerable. As I'm writing this letter I am sitting opposite a flat with a traffic cone in the window! This has been used on many occasion by the residents to shout at other students roaming the streets. They are very friendly and polite in the daytime and if asked to turn the music down they usually do - for 10 minutes anyway! Many may be broke but an awful lot are able to buy enough drink to get drunk and cigarettes and fast food meals to drop the packets all over the place. It is pointless to say "if you do not like it then move." This is out of the question for most people, especially the elderly who have lived in the same areas when they were peaceful suburbs. It might well be that a student has only one party a year but with 30% students in the area then that means every week. All everybody wants - students and other residents alike is for the public space to respected by all i.e. no litter, no talking in loud voices in the street, no loud parties after midnight in a house with close neighbours. Is that too much to ask for? To live in harmony.To treat others as you would want to be treated. The problem is so huge here that the police are no longer able to cope and do not respond to complaints. It is a shame that not more student halls of residences are available. It would obviously be beneficial to the university to generate more income and the resulting accommodation would no doubt be better suited for studying and living. I realise,however, that this is not likely to happen. Some students here live in awful accommodation which does not appear to conform to safety regulations - in fact there have been several student deaths in recent years from house fires (usually carelessly thrown cigarette ends) and falls from balconies during parties. I hope that incidents like these will not happen in the beautiful city of Worcester but unless there is strict monitoring of HMOs, Codes of Conduct for all residents and also an effective complaints procedure put in place then it will be inevitable. It is true that the students and the university offer a great deal to the life and success of the towns both here and in France but I think that attention must be paid to the demographics of each community with the integration of people from all walks of life. But how to create that and mutual respect in a community is a difficult problem - a clampdown on too many HMOs would be a start maybe ? Franglaise
  • Score: 0

5:27pm Sun 17 Feb 13

The answer is 42 says...

Many of us were students once, now we work 9-5. Students and workers do not have compatible lifestyles, sorry but we need segregation or control which is not just 'we will monitor the problem'
Even relatively sensible students will annoy the average home owner next door.
The council's action is 100% sensible, the anonymous landlord's entirely predictable and not newsworthy
Many of us were students once, now we work 9-5. Students and workers do not have compatible lifestyles, sorry but we need segregation or control which is not just 'we will monitor the problem' Even relatively sensible students will annoy the average home owner next door. The council's action is 100% sensible, the anonymous landlord's entirely predictable and not newsworthy The answer is 42
  • Score: 0

7:17pm Sun 17 Feb 13

205man says...

sorry but this landlord doesn't have a clue, he should come spend a week in my house and then see if he feels the same away about students.
I've lived in my house in Henwick road now for almost 9 years but the past 18months have been hell since the house next door was sold and converted to student rooms, and the university are not interested when you complain. their response was I should go talk to the students about the noise etc.
which is a waste of time because when I did they said if I don't like it then I should move house???
it's not hard to see why the landlord isn't happy with the idea of change in the rules, but then I'm sure he is living miles away from the people he makes money from.
sorry but this landlord doesn't have a clue, he should come spend a week in my house and then see if he feels the same away about students. I've lived in my house in Henwick road now for almost 9 years but the past 18months have been hell since the house next door was sold and converted to student rooms, and the university are not interested when you complain. their response was I should go talk to the students about the noise etc. which is a waste of time because when I did they said if I don't like it then I should move house??? it's not hard to see why the landlord isn't happy with the idea of change in the rules, but then I'm sure he is living miles away from the people he makes money from. 205man
  • Score: 0

9:23am Mon 18 Feb 13

Robot 3021 says...

It's interesting that "keeping house prices low" is seen as a bad thing by this landlord - young people are already being squeezed out of the housing market, and house prices are artificially high already.

And the number of students isn't "only going to increase", far from it. I suggest this landlord may want to look at what effect the new fee regime is having on student numbers country-wide, and Worcester is just the same.

As for student noise - yes, most people like a drink now and again, the difference is we are aware of our neighbours on our return, and respect their right to not be disturbed at that time. A lot of us have been students, so know what student life is like, but even then we wouldn't have considered a party in our garden at 2am as acceptable.

There is an amount of give and take, and we don't expect silence, but students have to understand that they aren't in halls of residence, they are in a residential area, where they may be neighboured by young children, the elderly, or people working shifts. Not everyone can just move somewhere else, nor should they have to.

And that is the problem - in a year's time, the students will be moving somewhere else, so there is no incentive to change their behaviour. It's not their problem. Except of course it will be in five year's time, when they are working in full-time jobs (if they are lucky), and living next to the next batch of students.

I've lived next door to bad student neighbours and good student neighbours (and in my new street, the "problem" house isn't student accommodation) so this isn't all students or just students by any means, but one bad experience certainly colours your view a great deal.
It's interesting that "keeping house prices low" is seen as a bad thing by this landlord - young people are already being squeezed out of the housing market, and house prices are artificially high already. And the number of students isn't "only going to increase", far from it. I suggest this landlord may want to look at what effect the new fee regime is having on student numbers country-wide, and Worcester is just the same. As for student noise - yes, most people like a drink now and again, the difference is we are aware of our neighbours on our return, and respect their right to not be disturbed at that time. A lot of us have been students, so know what student life is like, but even then we wouldn't have considered a party in our garden at 2am as acceptable. There is an amount of give and take, and we don't expect silence, but students have to understand that they aren't in halls of residence, they are in a residential area, where they may be neighboured by young children, the elderly, or people working shifts. Not everyone can just move somewhere else, nor should they have to. And that is the problem - in a year's time, the students will be moving somewhere else, so there is no incentive to change their behaviour. It's not their problem. Except of course it will be in five year's time, when they are working in full-time jobs (if they are lucky), and living next to the next batch of students. I've lived next door to bad student neighbours and good student neighbours (and in my new street, the "problem" house isn't student accommodation) so this isn't all students or just students by any means, but one bad experience certainly colours your view a great deal. Robot 3021
  • Score: 0

3:50pm Mon 18 Feb 13

kateamuffin says...

No wonder the landlord asked to remain anonymous!
He owns 10 properties, lucky him!! I bet he does not live next to students.
Admittedly not all students are the same, so there are some good & bad like anyone you meet in life.
Living in St Johns next to a property with 5 students all girls is no easy life.
What are people expected to do?
Do you move house? Is your property worth less? Will the next bunch that move in be quieter & more respectful? Or will the current students stay on for a second year?
HMO’s is only a positive thing in my eyes.
Any influx of visitors, students etc is good for the city but only if it is controlled.
Housing estates are being bombarded with student houses & parking issues.
Something needs to be done.

If the anonymous landlord likes he could come & live in our house for a week or two.
See how he likes the screaming, banging, loud music, taxi’s running for minutes on end.
I am not saying they are bad people just extremely disrespectful.
No wonder the landlord asked to remain anonymous! He owns 10 properties, lucky him!! I bet he does not live next to students. Admittedly not all students are the same, so there are some good & bad like anyone you meet in life. Living in St Johns next to a property with 5 students all girls is no easy life. What are people expected to do? Do you move house? Is your property worth less? Will the next bunch that move in be quieter & more respectful? Or will the current students stay on for a second year? HMO’s is only a positive thing in my eyes. Any influx of visitors, students etc is good for the city but only if it is controlled. Housing estates are being bombarded with student houses & parking issues. Something needs to be done. If the anonymous landlord likes he could come & live in our house for a week or two. See how he likes the screaming, banging, loud music, taxi’s running for minutes on end. I am not saying they are bad people just extremely disrespectful. kateamuffin
  • Score: 0

9:59pm Mon 18 Feb 13

205man says...

it's not just the landlords who are the problem, the university it's self needs to be held more accountable for its students.
it's not just the landlords who are the problem, the university it's self needs to be held more accountable for its students. 205man
  • Score: 0

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