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Thursday, June 17, 2010

HMO planning idiocy! LATEST

Landlords that are letting to 3 or more tenants will as the legislation stands be caught by the last governments parting shot in landlord legislation.

The legislation which we examined back in February became law in April. A friend of mine has already been caught by it. He and his partner are converting a semi-detached property for use by 3 post graduate sharers in Sheffield & he was required to submit an application for change of use to Sheffield City Council costing him an additional £335 in planning application fees.

My advice to him was to keep stumm and not to apply for planning permission unless the council and planners insisted. As a former town planner I know that these rules; like all badly thought through laws are unenforceable.

Law abiding landlords will be penalised by forking out for an application. Those landlords taking a more maverick approach will undoubtedly get away with it claiming that the property was already an HMO. The current HMO planning legislation is not retrospective.

Changes are only a matter of time

The fact is that it can only be a matter of time before the new Housing Minister Grant Shapps applies his Ministerial red pen to strike out yet another pointless and useless piece of anti landlord legislation.

I look forward to reporting on the demise of yet another piece of pointless legislation shortly.

Just as we proudly announced the death of the landlord licence!


It has just been announced on the Communities and Local Government website that Grant Shapps has proposed changes to the HMO planning rules. In effect local councils will be able to decide through the planning system and subject to local consultation the areas that will be effected by this legislation. This will bring to an end the blanket requirement of all landlords who seek to convert a property to let to 3 or more non related shares to first obtain planning permission.

Thank goodness for that. Another out break of common sense from Government! What ever next? Scrapping MPs expenses and making them live on a salary like everybody else?

Landlord insurance - student lets covered

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Anonymous said...

Leaving local authorities to choose planning for HMO's will lead to more stringent rules.

Boroughs will choose to rid itself of HMO's and landlords will be hassled even more.

I should know I work in Housing and I will be happy to push out HMO's as they attract young single rootless people.

Charlie said...

So where do you propose these "rootless young single people" live? It sounds like you don't believe they have a right to share neighbourhoods with "older, rooted, married people". An extraordinary and discriminatory approach. Also, do you think that "rooted married" people were born that way, or have you considered that perhaps once they were finding their footing in life? The planning legislation around HMO's is not solving the problem created by students, professionals and families living in close proximity, it is aggravating it and damaging a growing industry at a time when the economy is famously fragile. The government would be better to focus on working with reputable and professional landlords to improve the standard of accommodation available to students, and to educate both the rooted and rootless to co exist in a civilised manner. It is not like we are dealing with the Gaza strip! Your attitude is a typical NIMBY approach that is counter productive and as badly thought through as the last governments stealth like shot gun approach to legislate this problem.

Anonymous said...

I have "rootless young single people" living in my house. Despite giving them the chance that many would not, they are stitching me up good and proper, along with the local council which is adopting an "extraordinary and descriminatory approach" against me. They will not pay me housing benefit directly. They will not pay it fortnightly, although I understand they can. They want to fleece me for Council Tax saying that two people occupying a property on separate contracts, even though they live communally and are related constitutes and HMO. The Council tax liability is the best part of £800 a year. The Council will not recognise my house as a three bedroom house (which it is on the land registery) because the third bedroom is accessed via one of the others, and so won't pay the right LHA. With non payment of rent, "whatever" attitudes from the young people (who seem only to understand rights, and not obligations (unless they are mine)), and encouragement from Shelter, the City Council and other endless bodies which are funded by the tax payer (and to which ironically genuine tax payers have no right of access) I am seriously thinking about handing the property back to the bank. I agree with Charlie about government working with private landlords, but at the moment the system is destroying value. Has anyone noticed that the rules and regs which bind private landlords do not apply to social housing. Isn't that descrimatory? I just can't comprehend the logic, but I know it is financially ruining us. We won't be paying any taxes on the income from this property for some time to come.

Anonymous said...

It's a simple fact that if you give local authorites the power to do something, especially something for which they can charge, then they will do it. This is especially true at this time of cutbacks because it creates work for themselves.

Anonymous said...

I have an HMO in Camden, when I mentioned at a Landlord/Council meeting that I was considering converting the house into either one dwelling or 4 self contained flats, they said they would NOT allow me to do this. Camden love HMO's and will do everything they can to add and most certainly not allow them to decrease in the borough. I have it in black and white if anyone wishes to see it.