CITY COUNCIL RECEIVE COMPLAINTS OVER HMO ADDITIONAL LICENSING PROPOSALS

Alex Britton, writing in the Tuesday, 4 June 2013 edition of the Nottingham Post has reported as follows on complaints to Nottingham City Council about their proposals for additional licensing of HMOs in parts of the city. ...

'A batch of more than 700 letters from landlords and residents have been delivered to Nottingham City Council against a controversial housing policy.

The authority is looking at increasing the number of areas where landlords will have to apply for a licence for a house to be turned into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).

An HMO is the term for privately rented properties where groups of unrelated people or several different households live.

Shad Ali, of the Arboretum, handed in the letters to the council offices at Loxley House on the last day of consultation on the plans.

He said: "There are clearly a lot of people who don't agree with these plans and are concerned about the impact of them.

"The key points are that the council should have done a firm Equalities Impact Assessment because the new rules will impact disproportionately on the Pakistani population as they own a large number of these properties.

"Also, I genuinely think this policy will result in the displacement of people. Three people is the threshold for HMOs, so I expect we'll see an increase of properties available."

The authority is looking at introducing an additional licensing scheme in several areas in the city, including parts of Radford, Lenton, The Park, Arboretum, Wollaton Park, Mapperley, The Meadows, Hyson Green and Sneinton.

Hyson Green resident Paul King, 26, said he was provisionally in favour of tighter regulation but not if rents would increase.

He said: "I can see why the council is doing what it is – a lot of people get upset with students being noisy and unpleasant.

"But at the same time the fee for landlords seem quite a lot – you don't want to have that added onto rents."

David Liversidge, portfolio holder for Commissioning and Voluntary Sector at the city council, said: “We will listen to any constructive feedback from this consultation, but this position is ill-informed and appears designed to protect the interests of landlords at the expense of leaving tenants without the protection from rogue landlords they need.

"We completely refute any accusation that our scheme is discriminatory.

"We have set out very clear reasons for introducing this scheme, our proposed licence costs compare favourably with many similar schemes and our consultation has been carried out in line with Government guidelines.

"We have had a meeting with a group of landlords including Mr Ali and their views are being added to the consultation for consideration but at the moment, they seem determined to avoid increased costs.

"The reality is that a small additional cost will provide much-needed regulation in the private rented sector to protect the interests and health and safety of tenants, including students, and help to tackle issues like antisocial behaviour and disrepair.

“We remain committed to working with good landlords and improving the standards of rented accommodation in the city." '