Welcome to the Website
of the
NOTTINGHAM ACTION GROUP ON HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION
 

Tower_16.jpg

Moonrise Over The Tower, Blickling, Norfolk
© Peter Barr :: Geograph Britain and Ireland


THE NAG
WHO ♦ WHAT ♦ WHY ♦ HOW?

 

The Nottingham Action Group on HMOs is a formally-constituted, solely run by volunteers, association of people living in neighbourhoods across a large part of the City of Nottingham as well as in the adjacent towns of Beeston and West Bridgford. Some of us are also members and/or representatives of local residents’ associations, but very many are not.

Although our neighbourhoods are as different from one another as we are, what they have in common are the problems caused by concentrations of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – shared houses with absentee landlords and short-term, highly transient tenants. What we have in common is the feeling that, as individual residents, people have little or no say in what local and national government, higher education establishments, investors and developers are planning and doing, even though decisions made by them directly affect us, our families, friends and neighbours, and the future of the neighbourhoods and communities we live in. As individuals, we have little or no voice or influence. However, we believe that coming together as a group gives us a voice and the ability to have a meaningful say in what happens in our neighbourhoods.

It is difficulty to pinpoint exactly when the momentum that led to the formal constitution of the NAG in February 2004 began to build. A lot of what happened then came about almost by accident rather than intent, with contacts forming between people who, as a rule, would not have been expected to meet, but who did and who, by pooling their resources and expertise, began to shape what became the NAG.

No doubt opinions will vary as to exactly when that momentum became sufficient to trigger the formation of the NAG. However, in February 2003, Nottingham University hosted the launch of a report commissioned by Nottingham City Council’s Area 4 Committee into the effects of what we now call ‘studentification’. That launch brought together some of the people who then facilitated a meeting on 14 August 2003 with Alan Simpson (then MP for the Nottingham South Constituency) which, although it had been arranged at relatively short notice brought together more than 70 residents. However, the meeting on 18 November 2003 of the QMC Forum, is generally recognised as the event that finally triggered the constitution of the NAG a few  months later. The notes of that meeting can be downloaded here:

NotesSpecialQMCForumPublicMeetingNovember2003.pdf

The National HMO Lobby

The NAG is one of around 60 groups which together form the National HMO Lobby (www.hmolobby.org.uk). One of the Lobby’s strengths has always been that its members, by exchanging experiences and information are able to highlight problems of common concern, support one another, share high and low moments, and help to give a voice and visibility to the common issues that face us. 

By working together with their local MPs, council representatives and officers, they have been able to influence – and indeed change – local and national planning and housing legislation. For example, on a national level the joint lobbying of members, councillors and MPs was pivotal in bringing about the introduction into planning legislation of the C4 (small HMO) Use Class which remains the single most important tool that local authorities have in controlling the expansion and further concentration of HMOs.

In the City of Nottingham, after government changes in September 2010 made the change of use from 'family home' (Use Class C3) to small HMO (C4) a permitted development, and therefore not requiring planning permission, the NAG's active support helped in the introduction of an Article 4 Direction.  This, by removing the permitted development status, allowed the Council's planners, as had been originally intended, to exercise control over newly proposed conversions to C4 HMOs.

One of the sources of information about planning, housing and other topics surrounding HMOs, and the work the NAG has been involved with, both in co-operation with the HMO Lobby and as an Nottingham-focused organisation, is the NAG magazine, back issues of which can be found on the NAG 'Publications' page of the NAG websitealong with the NAG NewsDesk, and responses to a variety of national and Nottingham consultations.

Coronavirus

The ability of the HMO Lobby to highlight issues has never been more important than since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic when in ‘studentified’ neighbourhoods in university towns and cities in the UK, Covid-19 heightened existing and long-held residents’ concerns about the impact of student migration and behaviour on them, their families, friends and neighbours. For example, ‘A Letter Expressing Concerns About the End of the Academic Year 2019-2020 & the New Academic Year 2020-2021’ was complied by the NAG based on the experiences and observations of individual NAG members, representatives of the Arboretum Residents’ & Tenants’ Association (ARTA), the Berrymede (North Sherwood Street) Neighbourhood Group, the Portwell (Portland Road-Cromwell Street) Residents’ Group, and the Lenton Drives & Neighbours Residents’ Association (LDNRA):

  A_Letter_from_Residents_Amended_30.06.2020.pdf

The NAG, like other members of the Lobby, continues to try and focus attention on these issues, exchanging information with other members and helping the co-ordinator to prepare submissions to government and other bodies, and to the press. For example, with input from members, the Lobby’s co-ordinator prepared a response to papers published by government scientific advisers which contained serious misconceptions about the threat of Covid-19 in relation to universities, a threat which unfortunately materialised in September-October 2020.

See: National HMO Lobby Response to SAGE Papers on Higher Education & Covid-19, and also Coronavirus 2020.

What of the Future?

These continue to be challenging times for all of us. The problems that acted as catalystis for the formation of the NAG and the other National HMO Lobby members remain. In fact, as abundantly illustrated by media coverage over the last 12 months or so, if anything they have been amplified and brought even more sharply into focus by the coronavirus pandemic. Whilst none of us can change what has happened, perhaps we can aim to become ‘movers and shakers’ and, by influencing what may be going to happen, so help to shape the future of our neighbourhoods, our communities, and our home towns and cities.

For the NAG - not a nice name, but appropriate since what has happened to so many of our neighbourhoods is not nice and, as was pointed out once, the name on the tin says what the NAG does - that future needs to be neighbourhoods that are resilient, balanced and viable, and where people feel happy to put down roots, invest more than money, and contribute to the future of the City of Nottingham and the surrounding area as a whole .

In other words:

‘... places where people want to live and work and learn, now and in the future. ...'


See the report of a Round Table meeting on a Vision for Lenton which can be downloaded here: 

CLR_Document_14.04.2014.pdf


WHAT IS A HOUSE IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION (HMO)?
 

An HMO is often also known as a 'shared house'. Put as simply as possible, an HMO is a building, or part of a building, occupied as a main residence by more than one household where a 'household' can be one person or several people provided that they are related to one another. So, for example, a home is probably an HMO if 

•three or more unrelated people live there as at least two separate households, and

•the people living there share the same amenities such as a kitchen and/or bathroom.

For more information about HMOs and about legislation relating to HMOs, we suggest you take a look at these websites:

http://www.hmolobby.org.uk

http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/HMO 

Also, Nottingham City Council publish a regularly up-dated Register of Licensed HMOs, which can be downloaded from the appropriate link in this page: http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/HMO. Scroll to the 'Downloads' section and the register is the last item on the list.

Compaints about licensed HMOs can be made directly by e-mailing:

hmo@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

If you want advice or help relating to the condition and management of your privately rented property

Visit:
E-Mail: environmental.health@nottinghamcity.gov.uk
Telephone: 0115 915-2020 (Option 4)
Write to: Environmental Health, Community Protection, Nottingham City Council, Loxley House,
Station Street, Nottingham NG2 3NG



FOR YOUR DIARY
 

NAG MEETINGS & EVENTS

February 2019 Unipol-NAG (U-NAG) Open Meeting: 'Current Trends & Future Developments in the Student Housing Market'

Notes of this meeting, held on Thursday 21 February 2019, are now available to read and to download when you open this page.


NATIONAL, NOTTINGHAM & NEIGHBOURHOOD: MEETINGS, EXHIBITIONS, CONSULTATIONS & EVENTS

Nottingham Trent University: On-Line Showcase

Discover and celebrate the work of the School of Art & Design and the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment at the 2021 Student Showcase

Nottingham City Council Draft Eastside Supplementary Planning Document

Have your say: Nottingham City Council is seeking views on the shaping of the future of the Eastside area and is inviting comments on the Draft Eastside SPD between Wednesday 14 July and 5.00 pm on Friday 24 September 2021.

Nottingham University Impact Magazine Survey

Nottingham University's Students' Union 'Impact' magazine is conducting a survey in which residents are asked to share their experience of how living around students has been over the last year.


NEWS DESK
 

NATIONAL & OTHER NEWS

Government Urged to Ensure Full Vaccination of Students Before September Return to Universities

Writing on Friday 23 July 2021, Sally Weale, Guardian Education Correspondent reported that the University and College Union has warned Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, that unless students are double vaccinated before the start of the new academic year and additional protective measures are also implemented, the problems seen in universities last year will be repeated. Will Hazel, Education Correspondent of iNews, also writing on Friday 23 July 2021, reported that unless students are fully vaccinated ministers have been warned that university 'chaos' could return in September.

Large Student Populations Identified In The Five Latest Covid-19 Hotspots

On Wednesday 7 July 2021, Helen Pidd (North of England Editor) and Niamh McIntyre reported on the Guardian that the vice current hotspots of Covid-19 hotspots in England also have some of the largest student populations in England. Nottingham's Lenton & Dunkirk MSOA is one of the five, sitting alongside Leeds Hyde Park at the lower end of infections, with Oxford Central topping the list, followed by Durham City, then North Jesmond in Newcastle upon Tyne. Vaccination rates and problems for students having to self-isolate at the end of tenancies were also featured in the article.

Coronavirus: Durham Civic Leaders Suggest Significant Infection Rate Rise Connection to Student Population

On Saturday 3 July 2021 Gavin Havery, Senior Report for The Northern Echo, reported that civic leaders in Durham are suggesting that the soaring infection rate in Durham may be linked to the city's student areas, with fears that the Delta variant of the virus is being passed into the wider community.

Scottish Government Advisory Group's Concerns About Coronavirus & Freshers' Week 2021

PA Media and James Delaney, Digital Journalist, reported on Wednesday 30 June 2021 on Edinburgh Live that universities are being advised by a Scottish Government advisory group to postpone freshers' week 2021 due to the risk of spread of Covid-19 infections during 'mass activities' and the impact of travel. A percentage of students will not have been fully vaccinated .

NOTTINGHAM NEWS

Thousands of New Student Flats Needed in Nottingham

Matthew Jarram, writing in the Nottingham Post on Thursday 29 July 2021, reported that in order to accommodate the increasing number of students in the city as both universities continue to expand, Nottingham City Council estimates that around 7000 extra student bed spaces are needed over the next three years.

Nottingham University in Talks to Buy City Centre Land from Council

The Nottingham Post's Digital News Correspondent, Jamie Barlow, writing on Tuesday 20 July 2021, reported that Nottingham University is in negotiations with Nottingham City Council for the sale of land at Crocus Place, earmarked for Grade A office accommodation in order to give it a "greater physical presence in the city centre"

Coronavirus Local Outbreak Plan: New Nottingham & Nottinghamshire COVID-19 Dashboard Launched

A new dashboard, updated each day and showing the rates of Covid-19 infection in each district in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire has now been launched. Data can be accessed in graphic as well as numeric forms.

Updated Nottingham City Council Local Coronavirus Outbreak Control Plan

Nottingham City Council's updated 'Covid-19 Nottingham City Local Outbreak 'Control Plan' can be downloaded in .PDF format from its website.

NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWS

'We Were Told That Student Years Are The Best - But That Is Not True'

On Tuesday 29 June 2021, Nottingham Post Community Reporter, Olimpia Zagnat, wrote that students in Nottingham are disappointed at having missed out on end of year celebrations and having to replace 'exciting' nights out with modest barbecue in their gardens. Those due to return are hoping next year will be better.

Organiser of Student Party in Lenton Issued With £10,000 Fine

Nottingham Post Digital News Corespondent, Jamie Barlow, writing on Friday 25 June 2021, reported that the student who had organised a 21st birthday party in Harrington Drive, Lenton earlier in the week which resulted in large-scale anti-social behaviour, has now been issued with a £10,000 fine.

Residents Left Reeling After Yet Another Distressing Night in Lenton

On Thursday 24 June 2021, Nottingham Post's Ben Reid (Digital News Correspondent), Matt Jarram (Senior Digital Reporter and Crime Correspondent) and Olimpia Zagnat filed updates on a large street party in Lenton which, yet again, has left residents exhausted and in tears.

Students Celebrating End of Academic Year Make Lenton 'Unliveable'

On Tuesday 23 June 2021 Nottingham Post Community Reporter Olimpia Zagnat wrote that, although noise had been a problem throughout the year, residents have said that the problem has become significantly worse as students celebrate the end of the academic year with Nottinghamshire Police being forced to step in.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & DISCLAIMER
 

The Nottingham Action Group on HMOs wishes to thank: Nottingham City Council for funding support; everyone whose contributions (photographs, ideas, articles, work) form part of this website; and Magneto Technologies Ltd (http://magnetoweb.com) for the expertise which has enabled us to set up and maintain this website.

Last, but by no means least, we also thank our neighbours in the National HMO Lobby for their continuing help and support.


The views and opinions expressed in contributions to this website do not necessarily reflect those of the Nottingham Action Group on HMOs, its committee, or its wider membership.


Whilst we endeavour to ensure that reports are accurate, from time to time mistakes may occur. If you feel this is the case, please contact the Nottingham Action Group on HMOs. Information on how to do so is available on the 'Contact Us' page of this website.